Top Texas court sides against same-sex couple marriage benefits

Top Texas court sides against same-sex couple marriage benefits

Perversely, the Texas Supreme Court now uses this latest decision to make a thin argument that Texas courts must seriously entertain each and every discriminatory argument attacking gay married couples' rights.

In its wisdom, the Texas Supreme Court didn't mention whether interracial couples could receive equal benefits.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that couples in same-sex marriages have no inherent right to government-provided spousal benefits.

According to The Texas Tribune, the case is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage and required governmental departments to allocate benefits to same-sex spouses of governmental employees.

"We agree with the Mayor [of Houston] that any effort to resolve whether and the extent to which the Constitution requires states or cities to provide tax-funded benefits to same-sex couples without considering Obergefell would simply be erroneous", Boyd wrote in the court's opinion."On the other hand, we agree... that the Supreme Court did not address and resolve that specific issue in Obergefell".

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The decision by the Texas Supreme Court to take up the case was regarded as an unusual move because it had previously declined to take it up a year ago. They filed a flurry of briefs saying the case may help Texas limit the scope of the Supreme Court ruling - especially in how it's applied to states. (At this point, Texas' same-sex marriage ban had not yet been struck down.) Two taxpayers, Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks, challenged Parker's directive shortly thereafter, arguing that by granting benefits to same-sex couples, Houston was "expending significant public funds on an illegal activity". Therefore, the state appeals court erred in ordering the trial court to resolve the case "consistent with Obergefell and De Leon".

He said he hopes the case will eventually help push the U.S. Supreme Court to someday overturn its gay marriage ruling.

During a March hearing, Douglas Alexander, the lawyer who defended Houston's benefits policy, told the court that the case was moot under Obergefell's guarantee that all marriages be equally regarded.

As this Court explained in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Constitution entitles same-sex couples to civil marriage "on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples". "We will take steps to protect these families", said Kenneth Upton Jr., Dallas-based attorney for Lambda Legal. The couple was having a commitment ceremony with no legal recognition or effect, and the baker did not want to provide a cake, in violation of state anti-discrimination law.

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