Judge rules in favor of gay divorce, East Texans react

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The gay marriage debate is re-igniting in Texas, but it's not what you may think. The issue now is gay divorce. This week, a Dallas judge ruled that two gay men who were married in Massachusetts and live in Texas, can get a divorce.

"My first thought is that it's an incredibly strange ruling," said Reverend Dr. Mark Braaten.

"If you grant a divorce then it's ipso facto, then you're recognizing that a marriage existed otherwise you couldn't give a divorce," said Tory Carlyle, founder of Tyler Area Gays.

"It just seems to me strange that you can end a marriage that's not legally recognized," said Braaten.

It's strange to some, but legally possible according to East Texas divorce attorney Bruce Bain.

"Texas law currently is: No marriage between two men or two ladies," said Bain. "I believe it is constitutional because the divorce court decides the laws, and it rules that our laws are unconstitutional when applied or looked at from the federal constitution."

In this case, federal law trumps state law. Judge Tena Callahan ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage is a violation of the federal constitutional right to equal protection.

"So, the idea is that [at] what point do we draw the line between a differentiation between husband and wife, man and man, husband and husband, wife and wife?" said Bain.

Carlyle says the ruling is a step in the right direction.

"I think there's sort of a hope that by granting a gay divorce in Texas, then the state of Texas would be somehow be taking the first step toward recognizing gay marriage," said Carlyle.

However, because Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is appealing the ruling, Carlyle is still on the fence.

"It has some pretty strong enemies," said Carlyle. "In a state like Texas, I, personally, will be surprised if it's not overturned."

Reverend Braaten is against gay marriage.

"For me, it's an issue of the authority of scripture," he said.

And, until Thursday so was the State of Texas, so he thought.

"I mean, it seems to me that there has to be some recognition before...it can be ended," said Braaten.

It was once true, but possibly no more.

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