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Gay Divorce: The Next Big Legal Challenge from Newsweek.com

Yours truly was interviewed last week by Eve Conant of Newsweek.com.  What did we talk about?  Click below to read the entire article or scroll down to read the "excerpts" from the article specific to our case.  Great stuff and wonderfully written.


The Right to Love—and Loss
The sad fact is that many gay couples fighting for the right to marry may someday want to divorce. And that's a whole other battle.
By Eve Conant | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Apr 14, 2010

Seven years ago Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly met in Austin, Texas, fell in love, and moved in together. "We donated to charity, worked, and paid our taxes like everyone else," Naylor, 39, tells NEWSWEEK. "We also thought it was important to be married before we had a child." So in 2004 they married and honeymooned in Massachusetts, and soon after adopted Jayden, who is now 4. They shared a business in the then-booming housing market as well as a quiet, upper-middle-class family lifestyle.

But like half of all heterosexual marriages, their relationship started to fall apart. Since Texas didn't recognize their marriage, the state wouldn't grant their divorce. The only option to make it official was to establish residency in Massachusetts (while few states have residency requirements for marriage, most require a six-month stay before they grant divorce). "My son is here [in Texas], my mom is here, half of my business is here," says Naylor. "It made no economic sense, and no emotional sense, to leave." Last year, inspired by two men who were making headlines by filing for divorce in Dallas, the two women filed their own case. Prior to that, they had unsuccessfully tried mediation and several of their properties went into foreclosure due to difficulties in legally dividing up their shared assets. "This has been emotionally painful, financially painful," says Naylor. (Daly, through her lawyer, declined to talk to the press.). "It's the same struggle as any couple—the anger, the grief, the loss. It's all the same." A Texas judge agreed, and their divorce was finalized on March 31, 2010.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott doesn't see it that way. His spokesman, Jerry Strickland, e-mailed NEWSWEEK, writing, "Under the Constitution and law of the State of Texas, marriage is an institution between one man and one woman. Thus the parties' arrangement from another state is not a marriage under Texas law and therefore cannot be terminated by divorce."

As for Angelique Naylor, she and her lawyer, Jennifer Cochran, are counting down the days until the 30-day window expires for the Texas attorney general to appeal her divorce. Cochran also worries that a negative decision in the Dallas case could potentially overturn Naylor's divorce. "These couples are already going through three times the expense and headaches," she says. More gay couples are likely to move to Texas, she adds, and Austin has become a popular destination for all Americans: "This is an issue that is not going to go away." Naylor, however, expects the attorney general to intervene. "It's an election year, and apparently attacking gay people is a good thing to throw resources at. But in my heart and mind I'm divorced, no matter what. I've closed that chapter of my life."

Compliments of News Week

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