Friday, October 02, 2009

[mormon-chronicles] Judge Finds Texas Ban on Gay Marriage Unconstitutional

In Divorce Case, Judge Finds Texas Ban on Gay Marriage Unconstitutional

Mary Alice Robbins
October 2, 2009

A judge in Dallas has held that Texas' constitutional ban on gay marriage violates the 14th Amendment.

In an order signed Thursday in In the Matter of the Marriage of J.B. and H.B., 302nd District Judge Tena Callahan held that Texas Constitution Article 1, §32(a), which provides that "marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman," violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Callahan further held that Texas Family Code §6.204, which addresses testimony of a man and wife in a suit for dissolution of a marriage, violates the 14th Amendment.

She prefaced those findings by writing that she was ruling "[o]n the limited issue of whether the Court has jurisdiction to divorce parties who have legally married in another jurisdiction and who otherwise meet the residency and other prerequisites required to file for a divorce in Dallas County, Texas." Callahan found that she has jurisdiction to hear a suit for divorce of two men legally married in another jurisdiction and struck the plea to the jurisdiction filed by the Texas Office of the Attorney General.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, who intervened in the case, writes in a statement that he will appeal the ruling. "The laws and constitution of the State of Texas define marriage as an institution involving one man and one woman. Today's ruling purports to strike down that constitutional definition -- despite the fact that it was recently adopted by 75 percent of Texas voters."

Voters approved the constitutional provision in November 2005.

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