The Texas Supreme Court has decided not to review a lower court’s decision that prohibits denying married same-sex couples city employment benefits that heterosexual couples receive.
The case was initiated before the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision and tried to stop cities such as Houston from being required to recognize same-sex marriages issued in other states. This would mean that the spouses and children of gay city employees could be denied benefits that heterosexual employees spouses and children are entitled to.
The lower court decided that since Obergefell v. Hodges allows same sex couples to marry, it also extends to same-sex couples receiving the same marriage benefits that heterosexual couples receive. Texas Supreme Court Justice John Devine issued a dissenting opinion in which he claims that the court should have heard the case and that this is an issue that should be left to voters. He argues that this is a separate issue from the right to marry and views the decision as an overreach by the courts.
In his dissent, Devine says that “Texas, as it allocates benefits to employees’ spouses, may recognize the differences between same- and opposite-sex spouses. To withhold this decision from the people is to undermine precedent, democracy, and the limited role of courts in our nation.”
None of the state’s other eight justices signed on to Devine’s dissent.
Even though same-sex marriage has been legalized nationwide, it still faces a great deal of opposition. The Houston family law attorneys of Holmes, Diggs & Sadler have worked with LGBT marriage equality issues for years and will continue to explore the impact of legal same-sex marriage.
If you are facing marriage discrimination due to your sexual orientation, we may be able to help. Call our knowledgeable and experienced family law attorneys today at (713) 766-5355.