Justices reject Houston appeal over benefits for gay spouses

The US Supreme Court Just Rejected a Texas Case About Gay Marriage Rights

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"What an incredible early Christmas present from the U. S. Supreme Court", said Saenz, president of Texas Values, according to the American-Statesman. As the link to Equality Case Files notes, it's possible they simply denied review because the case was remanded back to the lower courts so that it could reach the other courts again eventually.

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

The Texas court basically found that while gay marriage is now the law of the land in all states, that doesn't necessarily entitle gay couples to the same benefits of marriage as hetero couples, particularly pointing to someone's ability to receive insurance through their partner's employment.

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Pidgeon and Hicks, also backed by state Republican leaders, argued that the benefits violated the Texas constitution and state and local laws against same-sex marriage.

But opponents of gay marriage launched a pressure campaign, sending a barrage of emails and letters to the all-Republican court warning of retribution in the GOP primaries if they did not reconsider.

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. In the Arlene's Flowers case, similar to Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Court took no action. "W$3 e intend hold the city accountable for [former Mayor Annise] Parker's lawless actions and her unauthorized expenditures of taxpayer money".

Jim Griffin, a Dallas lawyer who advises businesses on employee benefits plans, surmised that Houston's appeal was rejected because the Supreme Court did not have a final decision on marriage benefits to examine. 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. That lawsuit had been revived by the Texas Supreme Court earlier this year.

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