Does Texas Recognize Same-Sex Marriage?

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Texas since the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a case called Obergefell v. Hodges. In this case, a group of same-sex couples sued their state agencies. They claimed that the state’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriage violated their rights under the Constitution.

Constitutional Right to Marry?

The 14th Amendment of the Constitution says that states shall not deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law. The gay and lesbian couples argued that they were deprived of the protections on marriages and families that opposite-sex couples were entitled to. 

The 14th Amendment also says that states shall not deny any person the equal protection of the laws. The couples argued that, by denying them the right to get married, the states were denying them equal protection.

Texas’s Current Legal View on Same-Sex Marriage

While same-sex marriage is legal in Texas, new case law has made an impact. 

In 2017, the Texas Supreme Court threw out a lower court ruling that said spouses of same-sex public employees were entitled to government-subsidized marriage benefits. The case effectively said that while same-sex couples may get married in Texas, they are not always entitled to the same benefits as opposite-sex couples. Still, while things are complicated, same-sex spouses may be entitled to health insurance benefits, inheritance and property rights, tax benefits and other benefits after they are married.

Considering GLBT Marriage in Texas

If you are considering marrying your same-sex partner in Texas, you can get a marriage license in any county clerk’s office anywhere in the state. There is a 72-hour waiting period before you can be married, so it’s important to plan ahead. You’ll need to bring an ID and pay a small fee.

You should also know that, after getting married, the same legal obligations will apply to you as they would to an opposite-sex couple. For example, you may be held responsible for debts incurred by your spouse. Nobody likes to think of divorce when planning a marriage, but it’s also helpful to know that Texas divorce laws apply to same-sex marriages the same way they apply to opposite-sex marriages.

Need Legal Help With a Same-Sex Marriage? Ask a Lawyer.

If you have questions about same-sex marriage, get started by scheduling a confidential consultation. At the Ft. Worth office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys have answers and insight. Call 817-755-1852 to talk with us about your rights and marriage.

Sources:

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2014/14-556 https://www.texastribune.org/2017/06/30/texas-supreme-court-ruling-houston-same-sex-marriage-benefits/