Texas Supreme Court blocks marriage benefits for married same-sex couples

Texas Supreme Court blocks marriage benefits for married same-sex couples

Texas Supreme Court blocks marriage benefits for married same-sex couples

The Supreme Court held in Obergefell 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 ...

Gay spouses may not be entitled to government-subsidized workplace benefits, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday in a unanimous decision that was quickly condemned by gay-rights groups.

In a 24-page opinion Justice Jeffrey Boyd wrote the ruling that stems from the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case does not fully address the rights to marriage benefits.

The case came from Houston, where a coalition of religious and socially conservative groups sued America's fourth-largest city in 2013 to block a move to offer same-sex spousal benefits to municipal employees.

While the Texas law remains on the books, Parker mandated that it no longer be enforced in Houston, ordering the city to "extend benefits" to government employees' same-sex spouses who'd been legally married elsewhere.

Such a decision makes no sense if you understand the Texas Supreme Court as a court that is trying to resolve legal cases in a timely and efficient manner - but it does make ideal sense if you understand its justices as political actors.

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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".

Already, the [U.S.] Supreme Court has taken one opportunity to address Obergefell's impact on an issue it did not address in Obergefell, and there will undoubtedly be others. In Pavan, the court clarified that all rights associated with marriage-not just marriage licensing itself-must be afforded to same-sex couples. That allowed the lower court decision to stand.

I hope the lower court will again affirm that our Constitution requires gay couples be treated with equal dignity, no exceptions. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. That decision overturned an Arkansas court ruling that said married lesbian couples were not entitled to have both spouses listed on their children's birth certificates. As of August 31, 584 same-sex spouses had enrolled in insurance plans - including health, dental or life insurance - subsidized by the state, according to a spokeswoman for the Employees Retirement System, which oversees benefits for state employees.

LGBT advocates plan to appeal against the ruling. But when the news first broke, USA Today, for example, tweeted, "The Supreme Court has agreed to reopen the national debate over same-sex marriage". Equality Texas called it "patently indefensible", and Lambda Legal said it "defies all logic and reason".

"Anti-LGBTQ activists will do anything possible to discriminate against our families".

The city did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but plaintiffs' attorney Jared Woodfill cheered the decision as "a huge win".

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