Yesterday, Eve Conant reported on the difficulties same-sex couples face when they seek to end their partnerships. In some cases, partners who get married in one state find themselves unable to get divorced in another (most states have no residency requirements for marriage, but do for divorce). The inability to divorce creates a series of legal, financial, and childcare problems, while also preventing those in the failed partnership to move on with their lives.
Conant opened the story with two women who seemed to have beaten the odds. Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly, who were married five years ago in Massachusetts, finalized their divorce in the state of Texas last month, making them the first gay couple to be legally divorced in that state. The only thing that could overturn the divorce was an appeal by the Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Today Naylor says she received her notice of appeal in the mail. The fate of Daly and Naylor's marriage now lies in the hands of the appeals court, who will also hear the case of two Dallas men who were granted divorce but were unable to finalize the proceedings due to the attorney general's appeal. Abbott wants the courts to "void" the marriage, a process often used in cases of incest, and one that would essentially nullify the marriage as invalid.
In an e-mail to NEWSWEEK, Naylor writes:
[H]is decision to appeal doesn't change my feeling of being divorced in my heart and my mind.The attorney general's office confirmed that the letter was filed today, but offered no further comment.
I do however feel that his appeal of my case is an egregious misuse of state resources when there is already an almost identical case already set for a hearing in the 5th court of appeals next week.
His appeal is a politically motivated attack and attempt to wear me down financially by running up my legal bills.
When the Judge said that voidance would render us still married in Mass. and still needing to establish residency there to be legally divorced in that state, Deputy AG David Morales stood in court March 31st and told Judge Jenkins that he believed that the state of Massachusetts SHOULD extend Full Faith and Credit to the State of Texas and recognize that a voidance here is a valid dissolution of the Massachusetts marriage there.
However the Texas AG is not willing to extend Full faith and [C]redit to Massachusetts valid same sex marriage law by simply honoring this divorce.
Hypocritical in my opinion.
For more about the legal complexity of divorce among same-sex couples, read Conant's full piece.