We've already had a federal district court in Texas rule that Texas' marriage ban is unconstitutional (in February). And, now a state court has done the same thing.
From the Houston Chronicle:
Judge Barbara Nellermoe, in a five-page ruling released Tuesday, pinpointed three portions of the Texas Family Code as unconstitutional, as well as Section 32 of the Texas Constitution. Nellermoe wrote that “in a well-reasoned opinion by Judge Orlando Garcia, the federal district court found that a state cannot do what the federal government cannot – that is, it cannot discriminate against same-sex couples.”Attorney General Greg Abbott plans to appeal the ruling.
The latest ruling comes in response to a same-sex divorce lawsuit that was filed in Bexar County in February by Allison Leona Flood Lesh and Kristi Lyn Lesh, who were married in Washington, D.C., in August 2010.
Kristi Lesh became pregnant through artificial insemination during the marriage and gave birth Feb. 19, 2013. Her attorney argued that because Allison Flood Lesh isn’t the biological or adoptive parent, Kristi Lesh should retain sole custody. Allison Flood Lesh is seeking to split custody of the child.
Because Texas doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages, there’s also no legal avenue available to pursue a divorce.
The Fourth Court Of Appeals in Texas has stayed the ruling. Via the Statesman:
A state appeals court Thursday halted divorce and child-custody proceedings for two San Antonio women who were legally married out of state.I guess all couples do not live happily ever after (in wedded bliss). We'll have to take the bad with the good, I suppose.
The 4th Court of Appeals ruling came two days after state District Judge Barbara Hanson Nellermoe of San Antonio allowed the divorce case to continue because, she said in a five-page opinion, the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional and therefore invalid.
Attorney General Greg Abbott responding by asking the appeals court to grant an emergency stay delaying Nellermoe’s ruling, arguing that speedy action was needed “to avoid the legal chaos that would follow if the trial court’s broadly worded ruling is mistakenly interpreted as authorization for the creation or recognition of same-sex marriages in Bexar County or throughout the state.”
The San Antonio appeals court agreed Thursday afternoon, staying Nellermoe’s ruling while it considers Abbott’s request to vacate the decision as a violation of the district judge’s authority.
The appeals court also set a May 5 deadline to receive briefs in the case.
Allison Leona Flood Lesh and Kristi Lyn Lesh were legally married in Washington, D.C., in 2010.
Last February, Allison Lesh filed for divorce and joint custody of a child that Kristi Lesh, who became pregnant via artificial insemination, had given birth to in February 2013.
Kristi Lesh moved to dismiss the divorce and custody petitions, arguing that the state law and Constitution ban recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages.