Over the objections of state Attorney General Greg Abbott, an Austin appellate court has upheld the divorce of a lesbian couple married in Massachusetts.

When a lower court granted their divorce in February of last year, Abbott's office filed a petition to intervene in the case. The 3rd Court of Appeals has now declined that request on procedural grounds, leaving the divorce intact. The court found that Abbott lacked standing to appeal because his office wasn't a party to the case.

This is the second appellate court decision in a same-sex divorce case. In August, a Dallas appeals court made a conflicting ruling: it denied the divorce of two gay men, agreeing with Abbott's argument that since the Texas Constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman, the state can't dissolve a marriage it doesn't recognize. Gov. Rick Perry has also publicly noted his support of Abbott's position

In an e-mail, AG spokeswoman Lauren Bean said the decision "undermines unambiguous Texas law."

The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.

"The Texas Constitution and statutes are clear: only the union of a man and a woman can be treated as a marriage in Texas," she said, adding, "The Office of the Attorney General will weigh all options to ensure that the will of Texas voters and their elected representatives is upheld."


Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.