A federal appeals court in Austin, Texas said Gregg Abbott, the state's attorney general, cannot block a divorce granted to Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly, a lesbian couple who married in Massachusetts. However, Friday's ruling only complicates the issue of gay divorce in Texas.
"It's complicated and to some extent remains unsettled and that's unfortunate," said Austin attorney Jody Scheske. "If you have a legal marriage you should have the same equal right to divorce as all other married people have."
The divorce was granted to the couple last February in Austin. They were married in Massachusetts in 2004 and then returned home to Texas.
Last year, the 5th Texas Court of Appeals in Dallas ruled gay couples married out-of-state can not legally divorce in the Lone Star state.
The attorney general could ask the entire Austin appeals court to hear the case or appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.
"The Texas constitution and statutes are clear. Only the union of a man and a woman can be treated as a marriage in Texas," Abbott's spokeswoman Lauren Bean said. "The court's decision undermines unambiguous Texas law."
Texas voters approved a constitutional marriage amendment in 2005 by a 3-to-1 margin that bans same-sex marriage.