The Austin American-Statesman reports that the Texas Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases pertaining to gay divorce. The astute will surely remember the infamous case out of Austin from 2011, where the 3rd Court of Appeals upheld a gay divorce. This conflicted with an earlier ruling that year from Dallas (the 5th Court of Appeals), which threw out a gay divorce.
Traditionally, Courts of Last Resort, such as the Supreme Court, takes cases when the lower courts are split on the question. This is precisely what has happened here. It is worth noting, however, that the three judge panel assigned to the Austin case was comprised of two Democrats and one Republican (though the panel unanimously reached its verdict). This is quite different from the Texas Supreme Court, which consists of nine Republicans and zero Democrats.
Oral arguments will be held on election day, November 5th. Though an opinion will not be rendered for months, it will be very apparently obvious what will happen thereafter.
The Court will uphold the 5th Court, and reverse the 3rd Court, in refusing to recognize the gay divorces. This is because the case will surely not fly under the radar, as it has attracted publicity from our Attorney General and even our wannabe Attorney General. When social conservative crusaders get involved, all logic goes out the window. Accordingly, it is most likely an exercise in futility for me to delineate the reasons why, in an ideal world, the 3rd Court is correct just using Texas law.
The Texas Constitution says one man + one woman, it is pretty clear about that. Therefore, State Courts that use state law may not do anything that circumvents that provision. That is why homophobic provisions such as this one are typically thrown out in Federal Court. Bearing all that in mind, the question now shifts not to gay marriage, but gay divorce. But the Constitution simply states that “Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” By granting a divorce, you do not perpetuate the marriage. The more gay divorces you grant, the fewer gay marriages are in effect.
The Dallas Voice has more.