Same-sex divorce case to be heard in Dallas on Wednesday

SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson talks about the ramifications of a gay couple seeking a divorce in Texas.


The controversial question of whether same-sex couples who marry in other states should be able to divorce each other in Texas - a state that only recognizes marriages between one man and one woman - heats up Wednesday when it goes before an appeals court in Dallas.

The case expected to draw national attention involves two Dallas men, identified in court documents as "J.B." and "H.B." who married each other in Massachusetts in 2006 and now want a divorce. State attorneys will argue to the 5th Court of Appeals Wednesday why that should not happen in Texas.

This is the first such case in Texas to be appealed to a higher court - and one that could go all the way to the Texas Supreme Court before a precedent-setting ruling is delivered, political observers say.

"This is likely to be the major civil rights initiative of the coming decade," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "The 1960s were about the rights of blacks, the 70s were about the rights of women. Civil rights initiatives (for same-sex couples) is likely to be the next one we wrestle with."

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