After a state district judge granted a divorce to a lesbian couple, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott went to court last week to try to stop the divorce decree from taking effect. The women were legally married in Massachusetts and now desire to end their union. Abbott argued that because gay marriage is illegal in Texas gay divorce is also prohibited. Abbott’s actions confirm the need for gay marriage to become legal in all states under federal constitutional law.
Opposition to gay marriage is usually expressed in religious terms. Even President Obama says he opposes gay marriage for religious reasons: “for me as a Christian ... it is also a sacred union. God's in the mix.” The president’s religious argument against marriage equality is surprising, given that his own parents’ interracial marriage was illegal in many states until the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 that the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment protect the right to marry across races.
The same constitutional principles should apply to gay marriage. Religion has nothing to do with the issue. The Constitution allows the president and the attorney general to conduct their lives according to their own religious and moral principles. But they should not expect the law to impose those beliefs on others.
A federal district court in California is hearing a due process and equal protection challenge to California’s new constitutional ban on gay marriage, Proposition 8. The plaintiffs are represented by Theodore Olson and David Boies, the prominent lawyers who opposed one another in the presidential election dispute, Bush v. Gore. The court should rule in favor of gay marriage. It shouldn't matter if you marry in Massachusetts, and move to Texas or California. Marriage equality should stop the attorney general from interfering in a divorce.