BY Neal Broverman

October 01 2009 4:00 PM ET

A judge ruled Thursday that a married gay couple in Dallas can be granted a
divorce, setting the stage for a same-sex marriage battle royal in the Lone
Star State.

Dallas state district judge Tena Callahan ruled that two men married in Massachusetts could be divorced in Texas, a state with a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Callahan declared that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violated equal protection under the law.

"This is huge news. We're ecstatic," Dallas attorney Peter Schulte, who represents the man who filed for divorce, told The Dallas Morning News. The men in the case are asking not to be identified in the press because one of them is not out to his employer.

When the divorce was initially filed in January, Texas attorney general Greg Abbott intervened in the case, saying that since same-sex marriage isn't recognized in Texas, a state court there can't dissolve one through divorce.

Schulte is hoping Judge Callahan signs the divorce order in the next few weeks. Attorney General Abbott said he would appeal the ruling "to defend the traditional definition of marriage that was approved by Texas voters."

Tags: World

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