At least, according to a Dallas judge’s ruling, you can.
Although the case is far from settled, and the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage is a long way from being thrown out, Dallas state District Judge Tena Callahan’s ruling says the state prohibition of same-sex marriage violates the federal constitutional right to equal protection.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott had intervened in the two men’s divorce case, arguing that because a gay marriage isn’t recognized in Texas, a Texas court can’t dissolve one through divorce.
Callahan, a Democrat, denied the attorney general’s intervention and said her court “has jurisdiction to hear a suit for divorce filed by persons legally married in another jurisdiction.”
“This is huge news. We’re ecstatic,” said Dallas attorney Peter Schulte, who represents the man who filed the divorce. The man, identified in court documents as J.B., asked that he and his former partner not be identified.
Schulte said that the ruling was a surprise and that he hoped to have a divorce order for the judge to sign in the “next few weeks.”
In a prepared statement, Abbott said he would appeal the ruling “to defend the traditional definition of marriage that was approved by Texas voters.”
An Indiana judge last month denied the divorce of two women married in Canada, concluding it would violate Indiana law. And two years ago, the Rhode Island Supreme Court rejected the divorce of a lesbian couple married in Massachusetts. Neither Indiana nor Rhode Island allow same-sex marriage.
In March 2003, a Texas court became the first one outside Vermont to grant the dissolution of a civil union. The judge reversed his decision after a challenge by Abbott, a Republican.
The men had been married in Massachusetts. Perhaps I’m being pessimistic, but I have a hard time believing this ruling will stand up on appeal. I hope I’m wrong about that. Any lawyers out there have an opinion about the judge’s ruling? Leave a comment and let us know. Thanks.