Originally appeared at Slate.com on September 11, 2013.


The court papers don’t tell us all that much about what happened between the couple described only as “J.B.” and “H.B.” We can assume there once was love and then, at some point, there wasn’t. Their parting, we’re told, was amicable. The problem is that J.B. and H.B. are both men. The other problem is that they live in Texas. The two were married in Massachusetts in 2006, where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2004. They later moved to Texas, and now want to get divorced. Texas, however, won’t let them. And they cannot get divorced in Massachusetts either, because that state—like all states—has a residency requirement for divorce. On Nov. 5 the Supreme Court of Texas will hear arguments regarding whether the men’s constitutional rights are violated by not granting them a divorce. J.B. and H.B.’s case is actually one of two same-sex divorce cases now pending before the Texas Supreme Court. In a second case, the same-sex divorce was granted to a lesbian couple after a state appeals court determined that the state of Texas intervened too late.