Texas Supreme Court Rules ‘Spouses’ of Homosexual Govt Workers Not Clearly Entitled to Benefits

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AUSTIN,  Texas — The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that the 2015 Supreme Court same-sex “marriage” decision did not clearly state whether the “spouses” of homosexual government workers are entitled to benefits.

“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,” Justice Jeffrey Boyd wrote on behalf of the panel.

“Of course, that does not mean … that the city may constitutionally deny benefits to its employees’ same-sex spouses,” he added. “Those are the issues that this case now presents.”

As previously reported, in 2013, Houston mayor Annise Parker issued an order that required the city to provide benefits to homosexual city workers “legally married” out-of-state as same-sex nuptials were illegal in Texas at the time.

The following month, a pastor and an accountant filed suit against the city, stating that Parker’s order violated the Houston city charter, the Texas Defense of Marriage Act and the state Constitution.

State Judge Lisa Millard granted an injunction against Parker, but the city moved the legal challenge to federal court, resulting in the injunction becoming moot. However, the federal court moved the suit back to the state on jurisdictional grounds.

Following the 2015 Supreme Court ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges, an appeals court lifted the injunction and plaintiffs Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks took the matter to the state Supreme Court. The court declined to hear the appeal in September 2016, but supporters—with the agreement of Gov. Abbott urged the justices to reconsider.

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In January, the court agreed to rehear the case, and held an oral argument hearing in March. It then released its written opinion on Friday.

“We agree with the Mayor [of Houston] that any effort to resolve whether and the extent to which the Constitution requires states or cities to provide tax-funded benefits to same-sex couples without considering Obergefell would simply be erroneous,” the court wrote.“On the other hand, we agree … that the Supreme Court did not address and resolve that specific issue in Obergefell.”

It unanimously sent the matter back to the trial court for further consideration.

The decision upset homosexual advocates, but was praised by pro-family groups and state leadership.

“The court has limited Obergefell in terms of how broadly it should be interpreted,” attorney Jared Woodfill, who represented Pidgeon and Hicks, also stated. “It recognized that there’s an argument to be made at the trial court that taxpayer dollars should not be used in violation of one’s deeply held religious beliefs.”

Current Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told reporters that in the interim, he will continue to offer benefits as it has been.

“The City of Houston will continue to be an inclusive city that respects the legal marriages of all employees,” he said. “Marriage equality is the law of the land, and everyone is entitled to the full benefits of marriage, regardless of the gender of their spouse.”

Proverbs 14:34 states, “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”


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  • Jason Todd

    Packages of tissues are available upon request.

    • John Connor

      No need, they still have their benefits. Would most probably be overturned by SCOTUS.

      • Jason Todd

        And the rest of the state?

        You assume SCOTUS will even hear it.

        • John Connor

          We’ll just have to wait and see

      • SFBruce

        I agree that, as currently constituted, SCOTUS would overturn this. I think it’s very likely that a federal district court would do the same thing. Ken Paxton is certainly anti-gay enough to waste taxpayer money appealing such a decision, which would go to the Fifth Circuit. They’re a conservative court, but this seems so obvious to me, I wonder what they would do. If they rule for Pidgeon and Hicks, it seems doubtful to me that SCOTUS would take it, even if Texas continued to appeal.

        • John Connor

          Agreed

        • Oboehner

          currently constituted?

  • SFBruce

    Since the Obergefell decision is based on the guarantee of equal protection under the law, it’s not hard to understand that SCOTUS did, indeed, intend for same sex marriages to be treated exactly as opposite sex marriages, including all the rights and responsibilities. I hope this is taken to federal court, where I think Pidgeon and Hicks are likely to prevail.

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      no one was denied any equal protection ….. so that is a lie ….. any male regardless of his proclivities could marry any person of the opposite sex ….. and nothing else was ever promised by the law ………… fallacious argument ……….

      • SFBruce

        That argument was also tried in the defense of laws banning interracial marriage. It didn’t work in 1967, and it doesn’t hold for bans against same sex marriage. And on a practical note, would you really be OK with your daughter marrying a gay man? Or your son a lesbian?

      • Ambulance Chaser

        Of course there’s an equal protection violation. You’re just ignoring the two groups being treated unequally. It’s not about who can marry who; that issue has been decided for two years (spoiler: it does violate EP to offer marriage to opposite sex couples but not same sex couples.)

        The issue here is, now that same sex couples can get married, do those marriages have to confer the same governmental benefits as opposite sex marriages? Since the Texas Supreme Court has apparently never heard of Brown v. Board of Education, they ruled that the answer is “no” and that “separate but unequal” is just fine.

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          “it does violate EP to offer marriage to opposite sex couples but not same sex couples”

          its not a violation if it applies equally ………. fail …. and you are spreading more lies ……….

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Dude, I’ve already told you…that part is settled law and is NOT what this article is about.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            sure …. settled … until it is NOT settled ….. as i have TOLD YOU …………

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Why do you keep changing the subject? Are you going to defend your comments or not?

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            you made the claim of “settled law” …. but you … as a supposed “attorney” ………….. KNOW that anything in law is NEVER settled as long as there is a client to challenge it ……. so defend your own “claim” ……… marriage was “settled law” …. no homomarriage …… until it was not …. slavery was “settled law” ….. until it was not ……. there …. SUCCESSFULLY defended …… care to try for some more …………

          • Ambulance Chaser

            “Settled law” means nothing has overturned it. Once Obergefell was handed down, it became the law, and every case that follows it has to take it into account. Courts don’t rule “Well Smith v. Jones held X, but that may be overturned someday so we’ll have to consider it unsettled when making this ruling…” Rulings don’t work that way. Once an issue has been ruled on, THAT is the precedent lower courts follow.

            Now, are we going to discuss the matter at hand, or are you going to keep throwing red herrings?

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            hehehehe ……… SO WHAT …….. it is settled … UNTIL IT IS NOT …………

          • Ambulance Chaser

            All right, so clearly, we’re not actually going to discuss this issue. You’ve made that abundantly clear. I give up.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            ummm … you have no issue …..

          • DrFinster

            What a moron you are

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            yeah … that settles it ….. good one ……..

        • Bob Johnson

          As far as I can tell nothing was settled with this ruling. The Texas Supreme Court gave guidance to the lower court and threw it back in the low court’s lap. Justice Boyd’s, “Of course…” comment seems to indicate he has heard of Brown vs B of E. And it looks like the only reason the court took the case was at the urging of Governor Abbott.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            “The Texas Supreme Court gave guidance to the lower court and threw it back in the low court’s lap.”

            That IS how appellate courts settle things. They establish a framework then throw it back to the trial court to hear based on that framework. We just stop hearing about it after that because what happens to the individual parties to the case is irrelevant. (It’s more complicated than that, with certain rules depending on whether the Supreme Court upheld or overturned, but that’s essentially the procedure.)

  • Hugh1

    This is silly, marriage is marriage, and if the judges wern’t intellectual and moral cowards, they would have recognized that marriage is marriage.

  • Grace Kwon

    USA should make Christian education free to all. It’s been so unfair to the Christian families in the West.

  • FoJC

    One thing that’s amazing about the LORD concerning this issue, and any other issue, is that no opinion of mankind changes what’s Righteous and what’s Sin. I’ve watched this issue for years, the back and forth, the seemingly unlimited financial boon for lawyers (and huge waste of tax payer money to hear the cases), and God’s Will and Word on the subject hasn’t budged. Homosexuality wasn’t created by God and isn’t accepted by Him. It remains a sin that He will forgive, just like other sins.

    The ongoing spread of sexual perversion used to alarm me in a particular manner, but no longer. It is definitely bad, but the people promoting and supporting the acceptance of homosexuality aren’t winning anything. They’re losing their soul to the Devil’s will and ways. While some people rage against this issue, the followers of Jesus should truly feel pity for the souls that have been captured by this rebellion against the LORD and His Will.

    It’s hard to have compassion and mercy in the face of belligerence and intimidation, but the Holy Spirit supplies what we need to overcome knee-jerk reactions to it. Sometimes silence is best, other times the LORD will give a Word to share. Either way, we must make certain we are always thinking of the LORD’s sacrifice on the cross and His empty tomb. Jesus is alive forevermore! Until the End, His offer of Redemption is extended to all.

    To the matter, I’m not entirely sure why it’s such a big deal to offer or not offer medical insurance to people. The money and time wasted on fighting it can be better allocated funding other things – like fixing potholes and aging sewer systems. But anyway, the real battle is for the soul of the homosexual, not whether or not they can get medical insurance benefits.

    Follow Jesus, find Truth.

    • Sharon_at_home

      Thank you. The fact that it is our duty to bring homosexuals to Christ has been one of my frequent posts, but I don’t have such a way with words that you do. If you don’t understand what they believe, how can you determine how to approach it and have an effect, rather than run roughshod over their beliefs, we need them to see the love of Jesus, and make sure they know the truth about salvation. That is how they will be brought to Jesus, not by only telling them about the hate of their sin, and about that the sin is their ticket to hell. How is that going to change their minds? They have to know about the Love of Jesus, and the Hope of Salvation and desire to repent before that will happen. God wants all to come to repentance, but for me, the hate I see from Christians is about the person who is committing the sin, rather than for the sin. It shows darkness instead of light to give our God Glory. It does not speak of the many benefits of following Jesus. It speaks of nothing but hate and hell. How can the sinners be brought to repentance without understanding all of the gospel and God’s promises, and how to behave like Jesus to shine our lights for the world to see, to give God all the Glory. When people act with hate in their hearts, they do not reflect what Jesus wanted us to reflect as Christians. We are all sinners, and that means we cannot judge the sinner, only the sin, but man has a problem being able to separate the two at times.
      We should be spreading the gospel to everyone whether we know their sins or not, as for most people, you cannot know their sins, or their hearts, so it must be to all we spread the gospel.
      God bless you for giving me (and hopefully others) a moment of understanding. I do appreciate it very much.
      Blessings!

      • FoJC

        Hell is real and part of the message of the Gospel of Jesus. It’s reality should be shared, but most people are fighting sinners, not sin. Everyone has enough of their own sin to fight against, without taking time out to fight against another person over their sin.

        Fake Christianity has been around for centuries. Only those who know Jesus can tell the difference.

        • Sharon_at_home

          I like the way you do that… you really have a way with words. It took me to the 3rd reading to truly understand your post. At least,
          I’m hoping I do.

          I agree that only those who know Jesus can tell the difference, but we should try to help them see the light, shouldn’t we? When we
          have a situation like this comment board, we are more able to discuss the differences between the Truth and the Faker. TBH I was new to finding out how some people view of Christ is so different than my own understanding of the Gospel. It immediately made me feel that I had a chance to help someone ‘see the light’, because I want everyone that has the hope of Salvation to have it
          at the end. We need to obey Jesus’ command to spread the gospel, repentance, and shine our light brightly to be seen of the world, and gives Glory to God,

          I look at people in general as people who sin, who need to know what Salvation is and that it is worth it to follow Jesus. I try not to
          look at their sins, because with most people we do not know what their sin is, and it is my belief that we need to know people and if they are sinners and don’t desire to repent after learning about Jesus’ love, the Hope of Salvation, and the need to repent of past sins, and continue to repent of our sins when we can’t resist the temptation.

          The followers of Jesus should truly feel pity for the souls that have been captured by this rebellion against the LORD and His Will.

          The followers of Jesus should feel pity for them, but they should also feel the love that the Lord wanted for us to have for all his
          people. People can’t seem to hate the sin alone. For me that means that I have to show the love of the person instead, and talking to them instead of condemning them to hell, which no one can do but God. As no one knows but God who will repent and come to him we are not to judge them for refusing the gospel,
          The next time someone talks to him, or something happens that brings them to Jesus, it just won’t be us to save the soul – this time.

          I pray that the Lord, our God will bless you with a wonderful day!

        • Sharon_at_home

          Homosexuality wasn’t created by God and isn’t accepted by Him. It remains a sin that He will forgive, just like other sins.

          With the homosexual sin, I wanted to know why they came out
          into the open knowing that it would be terrible when it came to how Christians would treat them. It opened my eyes, and it made me not so sure about your statement. Here’s what I found by talking to supporters of the homosexual movement.

          They are trying to have the equality that they should always have been given, as human beings, and be able to live a life like we do. God would support this because they worked on taking everyone’s assets, and dividing them up between the people so everyone would live an equal balance of support for each of them.

          Condemnation of sins is for Judgement day, not for earth, other than the ones that are laws.

          The second biggest thing I learned is that these people love
          each other. I personally cannot understand a love like that in any way, but I should not be a judge of a person, just the sin.
          While I was thinking about this love they have, a couple of scriptures came to mind.

          1 John 4:7-8
          7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every
          one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
          8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

          1 John 4:16
          16And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

          If they know love (of each other) they are of God, “for love is of God”

          I’ve often wondered if perhaps God put them here as a trial to see how we would treat them. He wanted us to shine our lights when we care about others, and being hateful in any way, is of the darkness, not of the light.

          But anyway, the real battle is for the soul of the homosexual

          I agree and that is the really difficult thing for us to do, and it’s hard on us when people do not choose to follow Jesus, and our frustration at seeing the lost souls, they make it worse sometimes, by continuing their hate of their sin, and about Hell and damnation.

          I understand the frustration at not being able to bring others to Jesus, it is at times, overwhelming, but we should realize that if we
          cannot get them to listen, how are they supposed to know the benefits of repentance and the love of Jesus and the Truth about Salvation?

          We also have to understand that God will find another way to
          bring them to repentance if he sees their heart and thinks that the soul can be saved.

          I don’t see Jesus’ love in being only about the hate of the sin, and not the love that Jesus wants them to have, along with Salvation and repentance.

          Telling them over and over that they are sinners, that they need to repent or they deserve hell and damnation. I can’t see how it would
          encourage anyone with so little to base it on. I still don’t have an answer from the ones that support that action about who they have won over with that method, and I have no idea if it could work, but IMO I cannot see how it would.

          We need to use a different method to approach sinners. We can’t just be about the sin and repentance when Salvation is so much more than ‘just’ them. they are the main things, but there are also the benefits that following Jesus gives us.

          I apologize for writing 2 posts for this. My posts are being monitored and some get removed apparently. I find it less so when I split a long reply in two if I can.

          God Bless!

  • Michael C

    Obergefell determined that gay couples cannot be excluded from marriage.

    There are not separate (and unequal) classes of marriage. The state cannot say that marriage holds a certain definition for one couple and a different definition for another.

    Nobody gets “same-sex married” or “opposite-sex married.” They just get married.

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      “Nobody gets “same-sex married” or “opposite-sex married.” They just get married.”

      nope …. SSCouples get homomarried ……. what they do is not a marriage ………. it is profaning marriage ….. and that has been the goal all along …………

      • Michael C

        Is there, like, a separate license for getting “profane married”? Is it a different contract?

        I had no idea that the state of Texas had created created more than one type of marriage. Could you direct me to the section of Texas’ legal code that defines these different classes of marriage?

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          nope … you do not need a license to profane marriage …. you do it when you equate homomarriage to marriage ………….

          • DrFinster

            yeah they are the same

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            nope …. sorry ….. no equivalence ………. not even close ……….

      • DrFinster

        In your 1950’s fantasy world

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          truth is the same no matter what year it is ……….. FAIL …………

  • balloonknot9

    I don’t understand, if same sex marriage is legal, then why deny them insurance or any other benefits? This is nothing about religious recognition of SSM, but secular legal marriage. Sounds more like gov doesn’t want to cough up benefits because of cost so they are using any means necessary.

  • InTheChurch

    The love of money is the root of all evil, even for gay marriages.