Holy Deadlock?

STEVEN KREYTAK
February 18, 2010

AUSTIN: Texas would not let them marry, now it won’t let them divorce. The state’s attorney-general, Greg Abbott, has intervened in a same-sex divorce case, arguing that the women involved, who were married in another state, may not be legally granted a divorce because Texas law defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Angelique Naylor, 39, and Sabina Daly, 41, married in 2004 in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal. They returned to their home in Austin and together adopted a son, who is now four. They have been separated for more than a year.

Last week, at the close of a two-day court hearing on how they should divide their property and share custody of their son, the two reached an agreement that in part called for them to divorce.

Judge Scott Jenkins granted the divorce orally and ordered the parties to put their agreement in writing and return to court next month for his signature, according to Ms Naylor’s lawyer, Jennifer Cochran.

‘‘This is the first time in over a year that our family has been at peace,’’ said Ms Naylor, who still lives in Austin. Her estranged wife Ms Daly has moved to San Antonio with their son.

‘‘We never asked them to grant us a same-sex marriage. We only asked them to legally recognise that we needed a divorce,’’ Ms Naylor said.

The spokesman for the attorney-general said in a statement: ‘‘The state maintains that the court has no legal authority to grant this divorce, and as a result, the state must intervene in this case to defend the Texas constitution.’’

This is not the first time that Mr Abbott’s office has sought to intervene in a Texas same-sex divorce case.

He did so before when a Texas District Judge ruled last October that two men could divorce in Texas.

The judge ruled in that case that the prohibition of same-sex marriage violates the right to equal protection under the US constitution.

Massachusetts became the first state to legalise gay marriage, after a November 2003 decision by the state’s highest court.

Same-sex couples also may marry in Vermont, Connecticut, Iowa and New Hampshire.

Texas is one of numerous states that have passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage.

The Texas amendment, passed by the legislature in 2005 and approved by 76 per cent of voters, defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

IMHO- This switching state to state is manipulating the system. If they wanted to have a recognized same sex marriage, they should have remained where it was recognized…you cant run off and do something you know the state doesnt agree with, come back and expect the state to cater to YOU…am I the only person left that doesnt think the world revolves around them??

They weren’t forum-shopping. They were Texas residents, even adopted a son there, so Texas should be the venue for any divorce.

I think this is more of a political issue than a practical one. The marriage is not recognized in Texas and so it implies that it is not considered legally valid. It if is not legally valid, the state should not waste time addressing the issue of divorce.

The other issue would be the custody of the child. The state has to address that in order to protect the welfare of its citizen. However, if you listen to the attorney that lead the battle for the divorce it is clear that the judge was not involved with the custody proceedings because it was already settled by the two parties.

My bottom line is that this is a way to force the state to take care of two immature and selfish women that put themselves ahead of everybody else.

I dont understand what you mean by ‘forum’ shopping? Maybe they werent doing that, but they were ‘marriage’ shopping, no?? Going from state to state to see who could provide the service that Texas wouldnt? IOW- if they KNEW that Texas didnt recognize same sex marriage- which they HAD to because they went to MASS to have it done, than how can they expect a divorce from Texas??? It just seems redundant to me…if thats the word.

Its like, I go to my local safeway, and want to buy apples. They dont have apples. They think apples are bad for your health, so they wont sell them.

So I go to another city, and go into a Luckys, and buy an apple.

I eat the apple and get sick.

I return to my local Safeway and want my money back, demand a refund…

WT??? wheres the logic in that??

They either should have relocated to mass, or, mass shouldnt have allowed them to marry knowing they werent residents or going to be residents…idk…

[quote="Charlotte408, post:4, topic:187269"]
I dont understand what you mean by 'forum' shopping? Maybe they werent doing that, but they were 'marriage' shopping, no?? Going from state to state to see who could provide the service that Texas wouldnt?

[/quote]

We don't know that.

how can they expect a divorce from Texas???

They were relying on the "full faith and credit" clause of Article IV of the Constitution that provides that the various states must recognize legislative acts, public records, and judicial decisions of the other states within the United States.

They either should have relocated to mass, or, mass shouldnt have allowed them to marry knowing they werent residents or going to be residents...idk..

Depends on Massachusetts's residency requirement for marriage.

Emphasis mine. Bingo, that right there is part of the problem. Marrying couples who do not even live in your state. This couple knew Texas did not recognize same sex marriage. So they went to another state just to get married. Now that their relationship has fallen apart they expect the state of Texas to dissolve something that it doesn’t even recognize in the first place. That’s insanity! If this couple truly want’s a divorce they are going to have to move to another state, I recommend Mass. since that’s where it all started.

We had a couple who tried this in Oklahoma. They where married in another state and then moved to Oklahoma and decided to try and get a divorce here, it didn’t work. The judge said, sorry as far as we are concerned you where never married.

I agree Sabda....

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