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Obergefell Does not Preclude Divorce on Religious Grounds

On September 30, 2018

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In Lecuona v. Lecuona (No 03-17-00138-CV) the Austin Court of Appeals has found that the Supreme Court’s Obergefell  decision does not invalidate no-fault divorce in Texas.  The wife in this case contested the husband’s no fault divorce on the grounds that they had entered a “blood covenant” when married and the husband could not unilaterally end the marriage and the State Court by doing so was infringing on her religious practice. In short, the appellate court disagreed stating that Obergefell was rooted in personal liberty which could not be interpreted to mean an unwilling spouse could be compelled to stay in a marriage.
While this may seem like an unusual case, there are frequent attempts in the state legislature to add covenant marriages to the family code requiring a spouse to either show fault or agree to a divorce.  Such a statute would almost certainly raise constitutional challenges.

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