Archives: Marriage

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Back story: Pidgeon case on spousal benefits for same-sex couples dismissed

Newly-elected Judge Sonya L. Heath of the 310th District Court of Harris County dismissed the Pidgeon case last week after ruling on competing final motions for summary judgment by either party. In 2013, the Houston Mayor directed that the City provide employee benefits to spouses in same-sex marriages, the same as spouses in heterosexual marriages. … Continue Reading

ABA Opinion on Judicial Ethics in Performing Same-Sex Marriages

The American Bar Association’s Standing committee on Ethics released a formal opinion last week on guidance for judges performing same-sex marriage: In wake of landmark decision, ABA issues guidance for judges performing same-sex marriages. Their guidance interprets the Model Code of Judicial Conduct. The Formal Opinion 485 incorporates procedures and policies developed for judges in … Continue Reading

After the Breakup: Same Sex Couples with Children

For most couples with children, a breakup in their relationship does not equate to losing their children. However, when it comes to same sex couples, particularly those who never married, there are legal barriers that prevent them from asserting their rights as parents to their children. In a recent case out of the Fourth Court … Continue Reading

Equal Parent Benefits for All Couples

Suzan and Kimberly McLaughlin, a married lesbian couple, conceived a child using artificial insemination with an anonymous donor in 2011.  When the parties later separated in 2013, Kimberly began restricting Suzan’s access to the child.  Suzan filed a lawsuit seeking to be recognized as a parent that same year.  In April 2016, the trial court … Continue Reading

Common law marriage for same-sex couples

I still get questions about how Texas’ informal (aka common law) marriage statute applies to same-sex couples prior to the date that the Obergefell opinion was released. Remember that Obergefell found that the provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act prohibiting marriage between couples of the same sex are unconstitutional, thus legalizing same-sex marriage. The … Continue Reading

Same-sex marriage has highest approval rating in history

Gallup conducted their annual poll of Americans’ support for same-sex marriage. The results… 64% of Americans think same-sex marriage should be legal. This is the highest approval rating in US history. In 1996, when Gallup first conducted this poll, only 27% of Americans approved. This year’s poll also revealed that, for the first time, a … Continue Reading

Will Obergefell expand the definition of family in the wake of expanding marriage?

I ran across an interesting law review article from Susan Frelich Appleton out of Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law called Obergefell’s Liberties: All in the Family. The article joins the debate about whether the Obergefell case only protects liberty against the interference by the state regarding the right to marry (public liberty) or … Continue Reading

Divorce, Custody, and Other Emerging Texas Family Law Issues After Obergefell

Yesterday I was honored to speak at the State Bar of Texas’ LGBT Section’s Impact of Marriage Equality on Texas Law continuing legal education seminar. My topic was Divorce, Custody, and Other Emerging Family Law Issues After Obergefell. My co-presenter was the most awesome Karen Langsley from Austin. One of the biggest issues that we … Continue Reading
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