Gay marriage is one of the most hotly debated topics in America today. However, while the public at large and state constitutions are becoming more accepting of the idea, there are still states that have steadfastly stood by their decision to not allow same-sex relationships in any form be legally recognized—even in divorce. Texas is one of them, and the case of "J.B." and "H.B." is playing out in a way that challenges that stance.
In 2009, "J.B." and "H.B." (the aliases given to them in court documents) were two men who wanted to get divorced in Texas after being married in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage is legal. However, in Texas, the marriage wasn't recognized, so they had issues getting divorced. Finally, a family court judge OK'd the divorce, writing in a decision that Texas' Proposition 2, which prohibited the court from recognizing a same-sex marriage, violated the due-process and equal-protection guarantees of the Constitution.
One year later, however, a three-judge panel of Texas' appeals court reversed the family court ruling, declaring that because same-sex marriages or civil unions are barred by a 2005 voter-approved amendment to the Texas Constitution and Family Code, Texas courts have no jurisdiction to grant same-sex divorces. Divorcing a same-sex couple would require the state to recognize that they were married in the first place.
Now the case will be in front of the Supreme Court on November 5, and this will affect the more than 30 states that currently ban same-sex marriages. With a huge population shift trending recently, the ruling from this could have wide-spread implications on state constitutions across the country if they were made to grant divorces to same-sex couples, which means they would have to recognize them in the first place.
Texas Hold 'Em (Slate)