Archives: GLBT Issues

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Marriage — liberty and justice for all

The US Supreme Court found marriage of Constitutional proportions and extended the right of marriage to same-sex couples. This broad sweeping Constitutional rights opinion will have profound effects on many aspects of our society, not just the right to marry. It will apply to right of adoption, inheritance, death benefits, divorce, and maybe other ways … Continue Reading

Is June 26 the day for LGBT Right to Marry?

Did you know I started a new blog on LGBT family law rights in Texas? Today I posted about the significance of the date June 26 in the LGBT rights movement. The significant case of Lawrence v. Texas, which held unconstitutional statutes criminalizing homosexual conduct, was handed down by the US Supreme Court on June … Continue Reading

Historic day for marriage equality

I believe that we will look back on today’s arguments before the US Supreme Court as one of the landmark historic days for civil rights in of our time. Today, the Court will hear arguments in the case named Obergefell v. Hodges — the combined six cases pending on various aspects of the marriage equality … Continue Reading

Same Sex Marriage in Texas… Yes, Then No

Last week was a crazy time in Texas for proponents of same sex marriage.  Here’s a timeline of the events that occurred last week: On Tuesday morning, a probate judge in Travis County declared the Texas definition of marriage unconstitutional in a private probate proceeding. On Tuesday night, the Texas Attorney General intervened in the … Continue Reading

Travis County Rules Same Sex Marriage Ban Unconsitutional, Part 2

I reported yesterday on the Travis County Probate Judge’s ruling that Texas’ ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional.  See Travis County Probate Judge Declares Same Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional.  Andrea Lucia @CBS11Andrea interviewed me regarding the ruling as part of her report on KTVT CBS 11.  See the video of the report here.  Let … Continue Reading

No same-sex divorce in Texas (yet)

Several years ago, Texas adopted the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which give Texas the right to refuse to acknowledge legal same-sex marriages performed in other states. By not recognizing the marriages as valid, Texas law does not provide for divorce of same-sex married couples. This situation is sure to change at some point soon. … Continue Reading

Last week’s decision in US v. Windsor

Even in light of last week's decision in US v. Windsor, ruling parts of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, many issues still remain in the evolving debate of marriage equality. One which I see almost on a daily basis involves the right or ability of same sex couples who are legally married to break up and divorce. In other words, a couple goes to a state that sanctions same sex marriage and has the ceremony performed, then that couple moves to Texas where they decide to break up. Because Texas has a state-version of DOMA that prohibits recognition of legal same sex marriages in other states, and because section 2 of the federal DOMA does not require Texas to give full faith and credit under the US Constitution to the marriage laws of other states, couples may be left with no remedy. In Texas, we cannot file a divorce for those legally married, same sex couples. If they own property together, we cannot use our state's marital property division laws to apportion their property. We cannot help a same sex spouse who, through disability or lack of earning capacity, cannot support himself or herself after depending on the other spouse for financial support during the marriage.… Continue Reading

Love Wins: Section 3 of DOMA is Overturned

The US Supreme Court issued their decision today in US v. Windsor regarding the federal government's right to deny benefits to legally married same sex couples. SCOTUS ruled that section three of the Defense of Marriage Act, the section that prohibits same sex federal benefits, is unconstitutional on the grounds of equal protection. This is a monumentous day for same sex couples - giving same sex marriages equal status with heterosexual marriages at the federal government level. This decision is not binding on Texas state law, however. Section 2 of DOMA says that states do not have to recognize same sex marriages from other states, and that section still stands today. The Windsor opinion gives hope for the future of the rights of LGBT couples to marry (and divorce).… Continue Reading

How is the gay marriage controversy impacting the state of Texas and the family law practice area? What issues do attorneys need to be aware of?

The gay marriage controversy is forcing all citizens of the state of Texas to reexamine what "marriage" means. Is marriage simply a religious concept implemented through the government that supports the traditional one man/one woman viewpoint? Certainly that is the current state of the law in Texas.… Continue Reading

Both Moms Have Parental Rights

So, the question is what happens when two women are in a relationship, woman #1 donates her egg to woman #2 and woman #2 gives birth to the baby? Which one is the "mother"? Under Texas divorce law, the answer is that woman #2, as the birth mother, is the legal parent and woman #1, as a donor under the law, has no parental rights....… Continue Reading

Dallas Same Sex Custody Dispute: Battle For Recognition of Parental Rights by LGBT Parents

Child custody battles are always difficult, and can be ugly. But a recent Dallas child custody dispute shows the lengths that gay parents must go to fight for the right to parent their non-biological children if they split up from the child's biological parent. In the case fought out in Dallas family law courtrooms, a Texas mother petitioned for custody of a child she had raised since birth with her lesbian partner (the child's biological mother).… Continue Reading

Same-Sex Divorce in Texas: Austin Court of Appeals Opens the Door

Last Friday the Third Court of Appeals at Austin affirmed a Travis County trial court's ruling granting a same-sex divorce in Texas, in Cause No. 03-10-00237-CV, State v. Naylor and Daly. The appeal from the divorce judgment was brought not by either of the parties, as they had agreed upon the division of property and the child custody modification included in the decree the trial court approved, but by the State of Texas.… Continue Reading

Learning Lessons From A Tragedy

Some of you may have heard about the tragic suicide death of Debie Hackett recently. Her family drama has been played out in the local media over the past few months regarding the litigation between Ms. Hackett and her former lesbian partner Ms. Ferris.… Continue Reading
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