Same-sex Parents

3 posts

Gay Marriage

First Gay Marriage License Issued in Travis County

Two days ago, Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional as part of an estate dispute. Because the state does not recognize same-sex marriages, the marriage of Stella Powell and Sonemaly Phrasavath was not recognized and her estate passed to her siblings instead of her wife of 8 years.   Today, the first same-sex marriage license was issued this morning to 31-year couple, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant who were then married in a ceremony outside of the Clerk’s office.   Judge David Wahlberg of the 167th District court issued an order to County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir ordering her to, “cease and desist relying on the unconstitutional Texas prohibitions against same-sex marriage as a basis for not issuing a marriage license specifically to Plaintiffs Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant.” The ruling was made based on medical issues, as Sarah Goodfriend suffers from ovarian cancer.   Because the County Clerk is complying with the specific court order, same-sex marriage licenses are not being generally issued in Travis County.   Going forward, it will be interesting to see how the legality of same-sex marriage unfolds here in Texas.   Source: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/breaking-news/travis-county-clerk-issues-first-same-sex-marriage/nkD63/  

Texas State capitol

Gay Marriage and State Sovereignty

There has been a lot of discussion recently in regards the recently proposed House Bill 623. This bill essentially proposes to allow Texas to circumvent federal court decisions in regards to declaring gay marriage bans unconstitutional. However, rather than continue the discussion of whether gay marriage should or should not be legal, this bill poses some interesting questions in regards to a state’s ability to circumvent the federal courts. The Texas attorney general has already appealed the previous federal court decision from February of last year to the 5th circuit courts, and oral arguments on that issue will be taking place imminently. However, this bill appears to be proposed as a legislative mechanism to avoid the courts entirely. The strangest thing about this to me is that it is being proposed BEFORE the judicial avenues have been exhausted, which makes little sense, as it could be rendered effectively moot by a favorable outcome in the 5th circuit courts by the attorney general. As an attorney, from a procedural standpoint, this is a fairly troubling issue as the intent is clearly to strip power from the judiciary. Though the chances of success may be low, the intent is still there and still […]

Gay Marriage

Gay Parent Rights Heading to Trial

The rights of a gay partner to participate in, and more importantly, have court ordered rights to, parenting her former partner’s child will be set for trial in the 302nd Judicial District Court of Dallas County, Texas. After the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear the biological parent’s appeal challenging the partner’s right to sue for access to the child, the Dallas Court of Appeals returned the case to the trial court. [See Dallas Court of Appeals cause number 05-08-00568-CV, In re M.K.S.-V., 301 S.W.3d 460 (Tex. App. — Dallas 2009, pet. denied), opinion attached.] Kristie Vowels and Tracy Scourfield were together for more than four years and decided to have a child together, conceived by Scourfield through artificial insemination. A year after the birth of the child, they broke up and Scourfield moved out of Vowels’ home along with the child. Vowels continued to have contact with the child by agreement on a schedule similar to that of divorced heterosexual parents. Following a disagreement between Scourfield and Vowels, Scourfield denied Vowels access to the child, resulting in Vowels filing suit for court-ordered access to the child. A three-judge panel of the Dallas Court of Appeal issued a controversial ruling in December 2009 that […]