Same-sex couples still can’t get married in Texas, but at least one can divorce.
The Texas Supreme Court upheld a ruling from a lower court judge that allowed two lesbians, Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly, to divorce.
Naylor and Daly married in Massachussetts in 2004. After moving to Texas several years later, the couple split up, and a district judge in Travis County approved their divorce.
The five members of Texas’ high court who ruled to uphold the divorce did so because of a technicality. They argued that the Texas Attorney General’s office, then run by now-Gov. Greg Abbott, did not file a motion to intervene until after the divorce was already granted.
But Justice Jeffrey Brown wrote in the majority opinion that the AG’s office simply failed to get their homework in on time.
“The record reveals that the state, while fully aware of the public import of this private dispute, had adequate opportunity to intervene and simply failed to diligently assert its rights,” said Brown in the majority decision.
Abbott, also a former Texas Supreme Court Justice, called the high court’s decision “disappointing and legally incorrect.”
“The Texas Supreme Court’s decision is disappointing and legally incorrect. The Court mistakenly relied on a technicality to allow this divorce to proceed. Importantly, the Supreme Court did not address the Texas Constitution’s definition of marriage—and marriage in Texas remains an institution between one man and one woman,” Abbott said after the ruling in a written statement.
Like Abbott said, the ruling does not impact Texas’ law barring same-sex marriage. For that, we’ll wait for the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on whether such bans are legal. The court will make its historic ruling by the end of June.