AUSTIN — Texas Supreme Court justices raised pointed questions Tuesday over what happens if they allow gay couples wed elsewhere to divorce here – or if they close the door on the idea because of the state ban on same-sex marriage.
One highlighted the oddity of the court being asked to preserve Texas’ gay-marriage ban by preventing gay divorce.
“It would strike some people as odd that the state is advocating a view that would keep same-sex couples wedlocked instead of letting them split,” said Supreme Court Justice Don R. Willett. “It would seem to many that divorce would further the state’s public policy and not undermine the state’s public policy.”
The court could take months before ruling in the consolidated cases, which involve two gay couples who were married in Massachusetts and sought divorces after moving to Texas — one in Austin, and one in Dallas.
Attorney General Greg Abbott, now running for governor, opposes allowing Texas divorces in same-sex marriages. He said in court documents that Texas’ recognition of marriage as only being between a man and a woman prevents gay couples from divorcing here.
“There is no way to grant a divorce without recognizing a marriage,” James D. Blacklock, Abbott’s deputy attorney general for legal counsel, argued before the court Tuesday. Several justices raised questions about that issue during arguments.