The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear the pending gay marriage cases in six federal appeals courts throughout the country has literally changed the map when it comes to the legality of same-sex marriage in this country. According to the organization Freedom to Marry, as of Oct. 10, in 29 states and Washington, D.C., same-sex couples can legally tie the knot. Six other states have a “pro-marriage ruling at the appellate level” that clears the way for legal same-sex marriage.
In Texas, which is part of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the news for same-sex couples is not as positive. Gay marriage is still illegal. However, the court did agree to fast-track arguments in a case involving two same-sex couples, two men and two women. All are formerly from San Antonio. U.S. District judge based in San Antonio has ruled the state’s ban a violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
For the women, the decision is particularly pressing because their second child is due next March The couple’s first child, who is now 4 years old, was adopted by the woman who did not give birth to him to ensure her parental rights. However, they are hoping that they can avoid this expensive and stressful legal process when their next child is born by being legally married. An attorney for the couple noted that although they would go through the adoption process again if necessary, the concern is what would happen if the birth mother were to die before the adoption was finalized.
Same-sex marriage is still a contentious issue for a number of Texans. After the Supreme Court decision not to hear the lower court cases, Texas Senator Ted Cruz said he planned to propose a constitutional amendment to “prevent the federal government or the courts from attacking or striking down state marriage laws.”
Same-sex couples living in Texas, regardless of the legal status of their relationship, face unique family law challenges. Texas attorneys can assist with adoption, wills and other legal matters to help them protect their parental rights and assets.
Source: San Antonio Express-News, “Federal court agrees to fast-track Texas gay marriage case” Lauren McGaughy, Oct. 07, 2014