The State of Same-Sex Marriage in Texas

Scales of Justice

The state of Texas has consistently taken steps to outlaw same-sex or gay marriage.

Under Title 1 of the Texas Family Code, Chapter 2 provides that a marriage license may be issued to a "man and a woman." Section 2.001 (b) specifically states that "[A] license may not be issued for the marriage of persons of the same sex. Section 6.204 specifically addresses the recognition of a same-sex or union. This section defines a civil union as any relationship other than marriage, then goes on to prohibit a civil union, as well as same-sex marriage.

Even though the marriage was defined by statute prior to 2005 to consist of the union of one man and one woman, a referendum made its way onto the ballot (Texas Proposition 2) that year, which passed overwhelmingly. Proposition 2 created an amendment to the Texas Constitution that limits marriage to opposite-sex relationships. The stated purpose of the constitutional amendment was to ward off any efforts by judges to find statutes banning same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

Individuals who are legally joined together in a same-sex marriage in another state may also encounter difficulties if they move to Texas and then want to file for divorce. Texas state officials have challenged any attempts by judges to grant a divorce to parties in a legal same-sex marriage, contending that protecting the traditional definition of marriage also means protecting the traditional definition of divorce. Texas, like many other states that do not sanction same-sex marriages within their borders, also does not recognize the legitimacy of a same-sex marriage obtained in another state.

In an amendment to the Texas Family Code in 2009, a provision was added allowing individuals who had undergone court-recognized sex or name changes to obtain a marriage license. In response, some transgender individuals met the requirements of the statute and obtained marriage licenses. However, in a ruling in May 2011, a Texas judge nullified the marriage between a firefighter and his transgender wife, contending that gender is "fixed at birth by the Creator," thereby making an attempted marriage between two people who were the same gender at birth a violation of Texas law.

Contact Pfister Family Law

At Pfister Family Law, we bring two decades of experience to people throughout north Texas. Attorney John Pfister is board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We have the experience to know that every case is unique and that the strategy that works for one client may not meet the needs of others. We can help you protect your rights in court or can work with you to resolve your family law differences through alternative means, including negotiated settlements or mediation.

To schedule an appointment with an experienced divorce lawyer, contact our office online or call us at (972) 370-5172.

Related Posts
  • Divorce Preparation: Were You Ready or Caught Unaware? Read More
  • What Would Happen with Your Business if You Divorce? Read More
  • Court Hearings on Zoom During COVID-19 Read More