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In re Marriage of J.B. and H.B.

Court of Appeals of Texas
326 S.W.3d 654 (2010)


Facts

J.B. (plaintiff) and H.B. (defendant) were legally married in a same-sex ceremony in Massachusetts. After their marriage, the couple moved to Texas. The relationship deteriorated, and J.B. filed a petition for divorce from H.B. The State of Texas (state) (plaintiff) intervened as a party to oppose the divorce pursuant to the state’s constitution, state laws, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Specifically, the state alleged that article I, § 32(a) of the Texas Constitution and § 6.204 of the Texas Family Code prevented the trial court from assuming subject-matter jurisdiction of the petition because the parties were not deemed to be married under state law. J.B. claimed that, pursuant to the marriage-recognition rule, Texas should recognize the valid Massachusetts same-sex marriage. The trial court denied the state’s claim without a hearing, concluding that § 32(a) and § 6.204 violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The State filed a petition for a writ of mandamus and an interlocutory appeal with the appellate court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Fitzgerald, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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