The court papers don’t tell us all that much about what happened between the couple described only as “J.B.” and “H.B.” We can assume there once was love and then, at some point, there wasn’t. Their parting, we’re told, was amicable.
The problem is that J.B. and H.B. are both men. The other problem is that they live in Texas. The two were married in Massachusetts in 2006, where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2004. They later moved to Texas, and now want to get divorced. Texas, however, won’t let them. And they cannot get divorced in Massachusetts either, because that state—like all states—has a residency requirement for divorce.
Thus, unless they uproot their current lives in Texas and move to a state that will grant same-sex divorces, J.B. and H.B. are locked into their marriage. They are in perfect legal limbo. And they are in it together until death—or the state of Texas—do them part. Being trapped in a marriage one wishes to leave is a situation one court (referring to an opposite-sex marriage) once described as “cruel and unusual punishment”—placing the spouses “in a prison from which there was no parole.”