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Paxton still fighting same sex marriage

Some things never change.

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Despite his recent pledge to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling, Attorney General Ken Paxton is already seeking to prevent the decision from being applied in an Austin estate case.

Paxton’s office filed a motion August 25 in Travis County’s probate court aimed at blocking an Austin woman from inheriting a portion of her deceased partner’s estate, arguing that because same-sex marriage was illegal in Texas throughout the women’s relationship, Sonemaly Phrasavath has no legal right to her partner’s funds.

The motion was filed a day after the AG’s office, in an advisory, assured a federal judge in San Antonio that the state was in full compliance with the high court’s June 26 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Based on the advisory, U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia canceled a contempt hearing for Paxton over Texas’ failure to issue an amended death certificate to a gay widower for six weeks after the ruling.

Brian Thompson, Phrasavath’s attorney, told the Observer that the AG’s office’s continued filings in the case show that it is “not recognizing the full force of the Obergefell opinion.”

See here, here, and here for the background, and here for Phrasavath’s motion for summary judgment. She was a plaintiff in one of the other legal challenges to Texas’ anti-same sex marriage amendment; her case was still pending at the time of the Obergfell decision, and as in that case this has to do with a surviving spouse. It surely wasn’t their fault that they couldn’t get married at the time they did. There will be a hearing on Monday, and I hope this is swiftly decided in her favor. I also hope Judge Garcia is paying attention.

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3 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    I fail to see how interjecting the State of Texas in a private estate case furthers the interests of Texas taxpayers. Hey, Ken: it’s time to just let it go. You lost.

  2. Mainstream says:

    I am no authority in this area, but there are differences between the Obergefell marriage and the Phrasavath relationship. Obergefell went to Maryland and was married to his partner there, in a jurisdiction which allowed it, then returned to Ohio to reside. Phrasavath had a religious ceremony near Austin in a jurisdiction (Texas) which did not recognize the marriage.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    @Mainstream:

    Even if the details are different, it seems like the players in this case should be the folks who think they have something to inherit from the estate, and there is a probate judge that should make a decision. Again, I cannot figure out how the taxpayers of Texas have a compelling interest in this case.