Why the Texas Supreme Court did not authorize same-sex marriage under Texas law
On Friday, June 19 the Supreme Court of Texas published its opinion in Texas v. Naylor (Naylor) in a same sex divorce granted by a Travis County District Court upholding the divorce against an attempted intervention by the Texas Attorney General to block the divorce.
Naylor and same sex divorce in TexasThe Supreme Court held that it was not in a position to either uphold or overrule the divorce. As a procedural matter the Supreme Court could only deliver an opinion on those issues validly presented to it. The Supreme Court cannot issue advisory opinions on those issues of law not properly presented. Although the same sex divorce in Naylor survives, the divorce has no binding authority on the state or in any court of law. (As Justice Boyd's concurring opinion makes that clear.) Although Naylor did not decide whether Texas must recognize same sex marriages, the issue is expected to be addressed directly by a coming Supreme Court of the United States later this month, possibly even Monday.
Many commented that the Naylor opinion authorizes same sex divorce in Texas (and same sex marriage). This is not the case. The Supreme Court limited its ruling to the procedural issues. It held the Attorney General lacked standing to intervene in the divorce after the trial court rendered judgment.
ObergefellWhen the Supreme Court of the United States rendered its decision in Obergefell it held that same sex marriage is legal across the nation as a matter of the federal Constitution. This resolved many of the issues at the state level as a patchwork of state laws no longer exists.