Supreme Court leaves in place Texas ruling questioning gay spousal benefits

Supreme Court leaves in place Texas ruling questioning gay spousal benefits

In that decision, the Texas Supreme Court threw out a lower court ruling that said spouses of gay and lesbian public employees are entitled to government-subsidized marriage benefits, and it unanimously ordered a trial court to reconsider the case.

"The Supreme Court held ... that the Constitution requires states to license and recognize same-sex marriages to the same extent that they license and recognize opposite-sex marriages, but it did not hold that states must provide the same publicly funded benefits to all married persons", Justice Jeff Boyd wrote for the court. It means a Texas court now will have to rule in a lawsuit from social conservatives who want to block spousal benefits for gay city employees in Houston.

Sarah Kate Ellis, president of the advocacy organization GLAAD, predicted that Monday's action will open the door to "an onslaught of challenges to the rights of LGBTQ people at every step".

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

Amid the litigation, Houston has continued to provide benefits to all of its married employees. "With all eyes on tomorrow's oral arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop religious exemptions case, the Supreme Court has just let an alarming ruling by the Texas Supreme Court stand which plainly undercuts the rights of married same-sex couples", she said in a press release.

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In 2013, while Annise Parker, an out lesbian, was mayor of Houston, she offered employee benefits to same-sex spouses, causing gay marriage opponents to sue.

"This is an incredible early Christmas present from the U. S. Supreme Court for taxpayers".

In a rare reversal, the state Supreme Court relented, accepting the case and eventually ruling that there is no established right to spousal benefits in same-sex marriages. That led the 14th Court of Appeals to allow the same-sex spousal benefits, under the argument that Obergefell had settled it.

The case of Masterpiece Cakeshop versus Colorado Civil Rights Commission began five years ago when Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins asked Phillips to make a cake for their wedding reception. "Even the Supreme Court knows that it will likely see this case again", Griffin said. The lawsuit was then forced to go back to the Houston District Court to determine that issue - whether Obergefell applies to spousal benefits for gays.

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