Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Supreme Court declines to hear Texas same-sex marriage benefits case

Supreme Court declines to hear Texas same-sex marriage benefits case

The Texas Supreme Court's decision sent the lawsuit that started the case, which challenges the city of Houston's policy of extending the same-sex spouses of city employees with the same government-subsidized benefits afforded other employees' spouses, back to state district court so the lower court could determine which benefits cities are and aren't required to provide same-sex spouses.

The justices' action Monday comes without dissent or comment.

Something troubling just happened at the U.S. Supreme Court today.

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner said in June that Houston would continue to be an inclusive city that respects the legal marriages of all employees.

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In June, the Texas Supreme Court threw out the ruling favoring Houston, agreeing that the Obergefell decision "did not hold that states must provide the same publicly funded benefits to all married persons", and remanded the case back to the trial court to allow the men to make their arguments again.

Opponents of gay marriage sued, prompting a district judge to block the benefits, ruling that they violated a state law and constitutional amendment barring government recognition of same-sex marriages. So when gay marriage opponents came out of the woodwork, threatening to vote the all-Republican court off the bench if it didn't reconsider its decision - their argument being this was a great opportunity to restrict the effects of Obergefell - the Texas court took note.

The high court ruled that states must give same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples or else the state would be giving same-sex couples "disparate treatment", something forbidden under Obergefell.

While it's a shame that the U.S. Supreme Court didn't knock down the Texas Supreme Court ruling today, this is hardly over.

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"We'll be meeting with our clients and our team on how to go forward", he said.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear another important case involving gay rights, a conservative Christian baker's assertion that the Constitution protected his right to refuse to make a cake for a gay married couple in violation of his religious beliefs. "W$3 e intend hold the city accountable for [former Mayor Annise] Parker's lawless actions and her unauthorized expenditures of taxpayer money".

That does not mean Houston can "constitutionally deny benefits to its employees' same-sex spouses", the court added, but the issue must now be resolved "in light of Obergefell".

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