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Texas Judge Rules for Equal Rights to Divorce, Custody

By Michelle Garcia

Barring same-sex couples from marrying and divorcing in Texas is unconstitutional, a state district judge ruled in San Antonio Tuesday.

Judge Barbara Nellermoe echoed a federal ruling in which the judge found that "a state cannot do what the federal government cannot — that is, it cannot discriminate against same-sex couples," the San Antonio Express-News reports.

In the suit, Allison Flood Lesh and Kristi Lesh are seeking the right to divorce. The couple married in Washington, D.C., in 2010, and Kristi Lesh gave birth to their child last year. Her attorney argued that because she is the sole biological parent of the child, she should receive sole custody, but Allison Flood Lesh is seeking shared custody. However, Texas does not recognize marriage equality laws, and therefore it does not recognize divorce for same-sex couples.

Judith K. Wemmert, Allison Flood Lesh's attorney, said her client has not seen her child in eight months. The next step will be to schedule a hearing before the judge within the next several weeks to work out visitation plans.

It is currently unclear as to whether Kristi Lesh's attorney will appeal Judge Nellermoe's decision to the Fourth Court of Appeals. "The decision will not have broader implications for the state or same-sex couples unless an appellate court makes a ruling on it," the Express-News notes.

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