splitting up

Why Won’t Texas AG Abbott Let This Gay Couple Get a Divorce? Because It’s an Election Year

Making good on his year-old promise to fight a same-sex divorce, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is refusing to let stand a judge’s ruling that a lesbian couple can dissolve their Massachusetts marriage in the Lone Star State. What’s his solution? No divorce, but “voidance.”

Voidance could present a slew of problems for Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly, who share a four-year-old adopted son, because it would say the marriage was invalid to begin with, and thus things like splitting up their assets and child custody become a larger issue. But Abbott says that’s the only solution, since Texan lawmakers amended the constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. (But aren’t all Texas marriages illegal?)

But this isn’t just Abbott trying to protect some legal standing. It should also be considered political posturing. Abbott is running for re-election, and nothing generates those conservative votes — or media coverage to deliver name recognition behind the voting box curtain — like railing against the homosexuals. Tactics like this have worked before: In 2005, Abbott won a widely covered U.S. Supreme Court case that allowed the Texas State Capitol to continue displaying the Ten Commandments; in 2006, Abbott was re-elected attorney general.