A judge in Dallas has held that the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage violates the 14th Amendment. In an order signed today in In the Matter of the Marriage of J.B. and H.B., 302nd District Judge Tena Callahan held that Texas Constitution Article 1, §32(a), which provides that “marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman,” violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Callahan further held that Texas Family Code §6.204, which prohibits the state or a state agency or political subdivision of the state from recognizing a same-sex marriage, violates the 14th Amendment. She prefaced those findings by writing that she was ruling "[o]n the limited issue of whether the Court has jurisdiction to divorce parties who have legally married in another jurisdiction and who otherwise meet the residency and other prerequisites required to file for a divorce in Dallas County, Texas." Callahan found that she has jurisdiction to hear a suit for divorce of two men legally married in another jurisdiction and struck the plea to the jurisdiction filed by the Texas Office of the Attorney General. Attorney General Greg Abbott, who intervened in the case, writes in a statement that he will appeal the ruling. “The laws and constitution of the State of Texas define marriage as an institution involving one man and one woman. Today's ruling purports to strike down that constitutional definition — despite the fact that it was recently adopted by 75% of Texas voters.” Voters approved the constitutional provision in November 2005. Peter Schulte of Schulte & Apgar in Dallas, attorney for one of the men involved in the divorce case, did not immediately return a telephone call for comment.
-- Mary Alice Robbins