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Court considers: Can same-sex couples get divorced in Texas?

No matter how you feel about the politics of same-sex marriage, the fact is that the laws that govern these unions are changing rapidly and dramatically across the country. Many states are passing laws that prohibit same-sex marriage, while others make allowances for civil unions. And many states have adopted laws to make same-sex marriages legal and those couples are given the same rights as opposite-sex couples.

But this has presented a serious challenge for gay and lesbian couples who live in states like Texas, where same-sex marriage is banned. If a couple gets married in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, what happens if they move to Texas and then want to get divorced? This is a question that the Texas Supreme Court must answer.

Currently, same-sex couples who get married elsewhere but are seeking a divorce in Texas may find that the state laws will bar them from doing so. Because their marriage is not considered legal in this state, granting a divorce would be inappropriate. Doing so, some people argue, would mean that the court recognizes the marriage as legal. 

But others argue that forcing people to stay legally married is unfair and unlawful. By not granting a divorce, the courts are prohibiting couples from moving on and entering new relationships, not to mention the fact that they are making same-sex couples go through a different court process than other others, which some sources say is unconstitutional.

The state Supreme Court will make a ruling on this very complex and controversial issue in the coming months. In the meantime, however, same-sex couples in Texas may have to pursue alternative solutions to getting married or divorced. Many couples may want to speak with an attorney who understands the complexities and challenges of Texas family law in order to explore their legal options.

Source: Chron, "Texas Supreme Court tackles same-sex divorce," Jim Vertuno, Nov. 5, 2013

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