A Texas court of appeals has reversed a
lower court's ruling allowing a gay couple to divorce. The court
ruled Tuesday that the state's ban on gay marriage does not violate
the U.S. Constitution, the AP reported.
The Fifth Texas Court of Appeals
overruled a ruling by District Judge Tena Callahan that allowed two
Dallas men – known only as J.B. and H.B. – married in
Massachusetts to divorce. The court concluded that Callahan did not
have the proper jurisdiction to make such a determination.
Callahan's ruling also declared Texas'
ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. The appeals court disagreed.
Attorney General Greg Abbot appealed
the ruling, arguing that the marriage should be “voided,” which
essentially nullifies the marriage as invalid.
“The parties lack standing to file a
divorce because they're not married,” Jimmy Blacklock, an assistant
Texas solicitor general, argued before the three-judge panel hearing
J.B.'s attorney, Jody Scheske, argued
that his client is not looking to marry in Texas, but only wants to
end his own legal marriage.
“He is not seeking to enter into a
same-sex marriage; he's seeking to end a marriage that was valid,”
Scheske told the court.
The men married in Massachusetts –
the first U.S. state to legalize gay marriage in 2004 – in
September 2006. J.B. said the couple had been together 11 years and
that the split was painful but amicable. He filed for divorce in
January 2009, citing “discord of conflict of personalities.”
Plaintiffs have not announced whether
they'll appeal the ruling to the Texas Supreme Court.