(CN) – A same-sex couple who were married in Massachusetts can’t get divorced in Texas, where marriage is defined as “the union of one man and one woman,” a Texas appeals court ruled.
J.B. came to the court to get a divorce from H.B., whom he called his husband. The men were married in Massachusetts in 2006 and moved to Texas in 2008.
Later that year, J.B. said, they “ceased to live together as husband and husband.”
J.B. asked for a divorce and for permission to change his last name back.
When H.B. did not respond, Texas stepped in to oppose the divorce. The state claimed that because the men were not “married” under Texas law, they were ineligible for a divorce.
The trial court rejected the state’s argument, but the Dallas-based Fifth District Court of Appeals reversed, ruling that the men could not get divorced in Texas.
Citing the 2005 amendment to the Texas Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, Justice Kerry FitzGerald wrote, “Texas courts lack subject-matter jurisdiction over same-sex divorce cases.”
FitzGerald went on to rule that Texas law does not violate the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“We conclude that homosexuals are not a suspect class, that persons who choose to marry persons of the same sex are not a suspect class, and that the Texas law at issue in this case does not discriminate against a suspect class,” FitzGerald wrote.