We knew things would get bad for LGBTQ citizens in the Trump era, and news coming out of Texas today makes that reality as clear as day.
The Supreme Court today announced that it will not grant writ of certiorari to a Texas case involving gay rights. In doing so, the Supreme Court is letting stand the Texas Court’s decision that LGBTQ couples do not enjoy a de facto right to government benefits otherwise awarded to spousal couples.
The Austin Statesman reports:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Texas ruling that said the right to a marriage license did not entitle same-sex couples to spousal benefits under employee insurance plans.
The city of Houston asked the high court overturn last June’s Texas Supreme Court decision that determined all marriage-related matters were not decided when the U.S. Supreme Court found a right to same-sex marriage.
The federal court’s decision, issued without comment, allows the Texas court’s ruling to stand. Lawyers for Houston argued that the Texas court’s ruling was wrong and short-sighted.
“Equal recognition of same-sex marriage requires more than a marriage license; it requires equal access to the constellation of benefits that the state has linked to marriage,” the city’s lawyers told the court.
The Texas Tribune reports:
In its decision, the Texas Supreme Court noted that Obergefell requires states to license and recognize same-sex marriages just as they do opposite-sex marriages but did not hold that “states must provide the same publicly funded benefits to all married persons.”
That does not mean Houston can “constitutionally deny benefits to its employees’ same-sex spouses,” the court added, but the issue must now be resolved “in light of Obergefell.”
Following the Obergefell ruling, public employers in Texas, including state agencies and public universities, quickly extended marriage benefits to spouses of gay and lesbian employees.
But amid conservative efforts to relitigate that ruling, two Houston taxpayers — represented by same-sex marriage opponents — have moved forward with their case, arguing that the interpretation of Obergefell is too broad and that the right to marry does not “entail any particular package of tax benefits, employee fringe benefits or testimonial privileges.”