U.S. top court leaves in place Texas ruling questioning gay spousal benefits

05 December, 2017, 02:40 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Supreme Court of the United States

The controversy arose in June when the Texas Supreme Court revived a lawsuit that sought to eliminate benefits offered to the same-sex spouses of city of Houston employees, ruling that the right to a marriage license did not automatically entitle same-sex couples to spousal insurance benefits.

Despite "serious concerns" cited by one justice, the Supreme Court said Monday it won't take up an Alabama death penalty case in which attorneys said black jurors were improperly excluded from the condemned man's jury. 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.

U.S. top court leaves in place Texas ruling questioning gay spousal benefits

The Mississippi Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday on whether a woman should get parental rights to a 6-year-old boy that her ex-wife birthed when the two were married. "Today's abnegation by the nation's highest court opens the door for an onslaught of challenges to the rights of LGBTQ people at every step".

The high court's action set no nationwide precedent but may give a boost to conservative legal efforts to limit the effects of its decision in the case Obergefell v. Hodges that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to gay couples under the U.S. Constitution. Houston has continued to provide benefits to all of its married employees through-out the pending litigation.

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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.

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.

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

Lawyers for Pidgeon and Hicks told the state Supreme Court that the Obergefell ruling should be interpreted narrowly and did not require states to give taxpayer subsidies to same-sex couples any more than the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion required states to subsidize abortions. The high court does not usually comment when rejecting an appeal. That will change once the Texas courts reach a decision, he said. "Even the Supreme Court knows that it will likely see this case again", Griffin said.

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