Texas Supreme Court Blatantly Contradicts Days-Old Order from U.S. Supreme Court

By Adam Polaski • June 30, 2017 • 10:50 am

Today, the Texas Supreme Court, an elected group of judges, failed the state of Texas and blatantly contradicted the nation’s highest court in a ruling issued today in Pidgeon v. Turner. The court found that there is no inherent right to government-provided spousal benefits in same-sex marriages.

The American-Statesman reported:

The 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established the right to same-sex marriage did not decide all marriage-related matters, leaving room for state courts to explore the decision’s “reach and ramifications,” the Texas court said. Supporters of gay marriage have vowed to appeal such a ruling to the federal courts, arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court clearly stated that all marriages must be treated equally.

Here’s background on the case from Texas Monthly:

The case predates the Obergefell decision, spurred by Houston’s then-mayor Annise Parker to extend spousal benefits to city employees, recognizing marriages performed in other states in 2013. Later, Houston residents Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks filed a legal case, saying that Mayor Parker and Houston violated the Texas Constitution and Texas Family Code. For a short while, Houston was prohibited from providing spousal benefits to city employees married to a person of the same sex – but the ruling was overturned very quickly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell that the freedom to marry is law nationwide. At first, the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear the case, until anti-LGBT forces in Texas – including Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stepped in and urged the Texas Supreme Court to violate federal law and reopen the case.

Just days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in Pavan v. Smith that married same-sex couples must be treated the same as different-sex married couples in all instances, without exception. The Pavan ruling reversed a bad decision from the Arkansas Supreme Court excluding parents in same-sex marriages from listing both parents’ names on the birth certificates of their children.

It’s worth revisiting the entire Pavan ruling – but here’s the sentence you bold and underline again and again: “Obergefell proscribes such disparate treatment. As we explained there, a State may not “exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.””

This shameful ruling from the Texas Supreme Court will be a blip on the radar when the full story of the freedom to marry is told – but it is clearly a violation of federal law, a law that a supermajority of Americans strongly support.


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