Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Texas court provides gays with covenant marraige

JAMIE STENGLE | 08/31/10 08:12 PM | AP

DALLAS — Gay couples legally married in other states cannot get a divorce in Texas, where same-sex marriage is banned, a state appeals court ruled.

The 5th Texas Court of Appeals ruled that a Dallas district court judge didn't have the authority to hear a divorce case involving two Dallas men who married in Massachusetts in 2006. Republican state Attorney General Greg Abbott's office had appealed after Judge Tena Callahan, a Democrat, said she did have jurisdiction and dismissed the state's attempt to intervene.

"Today's court of appeals decision overruled the district court's improper ruling, confirmed the constitutionality of Texas' traditional definition of marriage and correctly found that Texas courts lack the legal authority to grant divorces to same-sex couples," said Abbott spokesman Jerry Strickland.

Callahan also had ruled Texas couldn't limit marriage to a man and a woman, but the appeals court said the state's same-sex marriage ban was constitutional.

"A person does not and cannot seek a divorce without simultaneously asserting the existence and validity of a lawful marriage," Justice Kerry P. Fitzgerald wrote on behalf of three Republican appeals court justices. "Texas law, as embodied in our constitution and statutes, requires that a valid marriage must be a union of one man and one woman, and only when a union comprises one man and one woman can there be a divorce under Texas law."

The appeals court ordered the case be sent back to Callahan, who must vacate her order unless the two men appeal.

The men, known only as J.B. and H.B. in court filings, separated amicably two years after they were married.

The court ruling is the dream of conservatives. Once you get married, you cannot get divorced if you have covenant marriage. That is unless one of the partners commits adultery. Of course, if you are a women who lives in certain countries, you could be stoned to death for comitting adultery. Many evangelicals would support the Biblical penalty for adultery.

As Alan Grayson explained, covenant marriage is like a roach motel; you can check in but you cannot check out.

However, if the other partner doesn't want to divorce, he or she can commit adultery and the marriage will go on "until death do we part." We expect some of these wingers would probably use their Second Amendment rights to end such destructive marriages.

As Alan Grayson put it, a covenant marriage gone bad is like two scorpions in a bottle.

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