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Fifth District Court Reverses Dallas County Divorce Case


AUSTIN, Texas (August 31, 2010):

Statement from Dennis Coleman, Executive Director, Equality Texas on today's ruling In the Matter of the Marriage of J.B. and H.B.:

The Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled today that Texas district courts do not have subject-matter jurisdiction to hear a same-sex divorce case. In its ruling, the Appeals Court has taken the most extreme, the most conservative view possible on each issue before it. It's not as if they wanted to just overturn the trial court's decision, they wanted to smash it into the ground and discourage anyone from ever filing a pro-LGBT suit ever again.

The ruling harkens back to a view of the world from generations past - a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people were content to live in closets, and were afraid to demand to be treated with dignity and respect. A dignity and respect that this court goes out of its way to completely deny.

In going so far to overturn the trial court's decision, with such an extreme opinion, the appellate court has lowered the bar for any effort to overturn its ruling:

    * The Court's view of marriage is historically inaccurate. Marriage existed in many forms, for many reasons, for many thousands of years.

    * Refusal to view sexual orientation as a suspect class singled out for disparate and discriminatory treatment ignores both the entire purpose of DOMA and the anti-marriage amendment, as well as the well-documented history of discrimination, hate crimes, and statutory treatment of LGBT individuals.
    * The Court's view of same-sex relationships is uninformed, outdated and homophobic-predicating its decision upon the ability to have children naturally--thereby ignoring the thousands of Texas households raising kids with same-sex parents, or even single parent households.
    * The ruling holds Texas' laws are "rationally related to the legitimate state interest in fostering the best possible environment for procreation and child-raising."  Evidently to the exclusion of all others, and without a shred of evidence in the record--particularly since longitudinal studies have demonstrated that same-sex parents are as good as raising children as straight couples.

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