The Texas Supreme Court upheld the Austin divorce of a same-sex couple today, turning away Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and arguments that the state can't dissolve a marriage it didn't recognize in the first place. The court, which is entirely stocked with elected Republicans, ruled in a 5-3 decision that the state lacked standing to intervene in the divorce of Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly, who were married in Massachusetts in 2004. Declining to overturn the 2010 divorce has no impact on Texas' ban on gay marriage. But the ruling comes ahead of a US Supreme Court decision that is expected any day now on whether same-sex marriage should be legal.
The Texas court largely sidestepped those bigger issues at play, and instead ruled that the state lost because it waited too long to intervene. Abbott, a former justice on the state Supreme Court, was attorney general when his office challenged the divorce. He called the ruling wrong. "The Court mistakenly relied on a technicality to allow this divorce to proceed," Abbott said. "Importantly, the Supreme Court did not address the Texas Constitution's definition of marriage—and marriage in Texas remains an institution between one man and one woman."