Texas' Supreme Court issued a ruling in an ongoing dispute over spousal benefits for same-sex couples on Friday, declaring that benefits are not guaranteed under the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing same-sex marriage.
The full details of the case can be read on The Texas Tribune website. In fact, the court in this deeply red state has been all-Republican since 1999.
As the Supreme Court held in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Constitution "entitles same-sex couples to civil marriage 'on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.'" Indeed, just this week in Pavan v. Smith, the Court reaffirmed its holding that the benefits of marriage must be granted to same-sex couples "on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples".
We can not resolve the parties' claims now, however, because they have not yet been fully developed or litigated. 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. Naturally, the parties did not raise their current arguments in the trial court or in the court of appeals, and neither court ruled on them.
The Texas Supreme Court on Friday threw out a lower court ruling that said spouses of gay and lesbian public employees are entitled to government-subsidized same-sex marriage benefits.
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They also indicated that she called lawyers specializing in civil litigation before reporting the alleged assault to police. After briefly losing consciousness, she came round as Cosby was touching her private parts, she testified.
This "reasoning" would be laughable if it weren't so harmful. But the state's highest civil court reversed course in January after receiving an outpouring of letters opposing the decision.
As for Masterpiece Cakeshop, that case has nothing to do with marriage.
Gexydaf/flickrA case about compeling someone to design a wedding cake is about free expression, not opposition to gay marriage. This has nothing to do with some kind of "open question" left unaddressed by Obergefell. The U.S. Supreme Court "did not hold that states must provide the same publicly funded benefits to all married persons", the Texas Supreme Court wrote in its opinion. Instead, it seems more like a desperate effort to reach the result the justices prefer. Today's ruling tells us a great deal about the kind of justices and judges Trump wants to fill the federal bench with.
It followed the 2015 US Supreme Court ruling, which had found that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry and enjoy equal protection under the law.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and chief executive of GLAAD, an LGBT rights group, called the Texas ruling a "warning shot to all LGBTQ Americans that the war on marriage equality is ever-evolving, and anti-LGBTQ activists will do anything possible to discriminate against our families".