Appeals Court Strikes Down “Same-Sex” Divorce, Upholds Texas Marriage Amendment

Aug 31, 2010

Court Reverses “Same-Sex Divorce”: Liberty Institute Presented Winning Arguments Before the Court of Appeals.

DALLAS, August 31 — Today, the Fifth Court of Appeals in Texas reversed District Judge Tena Callahan’s ruling granting a “same-sex divorce” in Dallas, requiring Judge Callahan to dismiss the case. Liberty Institute, which filed an amicus brief and shared argument time in the case with the Texas Attorney General’s office, released the following statement:

“The court’s ruling today strikes down an activist judge’s attempt to take the law into her own hands,” said Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO of Liberty Institute. “We applaud the Dallas Court of Appeals for upholding the rule of law and the will of 76 percent of Texans who voted for Texas’ constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

In the brief, Liberty Institute represented Rep. Warren Chisum and former Sen. Todd Staples, who cosponsored the Marriage Amendment, known as Proposition 2, which defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. It passed in 2005 by 76 percent.

During oral arguments, Liberty Institute challenged Judge Callahan’s ruling as contradictory to the Texas Constitution and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) because by granting a “same-sex divorce,” it recognizes a “same-sex marriage” performed in another state. The Austin Court of Appeals will likely rule soon on a similar case, where District Judge Scott Jenkins granted a “same-sex divorce” to a lesbian couple in February and denied the Attorney General’s motion for intervention in late March.

Liberty Institute is a public policy and non-profit legal firm dedicated to protecting freedoms and strengthening families.

View the opinion online at http://tinyurl.com/In-Re-JB-HB.

Excerpt: 

“The Texas Constitution provides that [m] arri age in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” TEx. CONSI. art. I, § 32(a). The rule contains no exceptions for marriages performed in other jurisdictions, nor is its application limited to marriages performed in this state.”

“Any common-law principle recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions must yield to the constitution. Moreover, the legislature has declared that same-sex marriages are contrary to Texas public policy. TEX. FAM. CODE ANN. § 6.204(b).”

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