Published: Sat, July 01, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Texas Supreme Court throws out same-sex marriage ruling

Texas Supreme Court throws out same-sex marriage ruling

Though same-sex marriage was officially legalized in 2015, the Texas judges believed the "reach and ramifications" of the Supreme Court's 2015 decision had not been clearly specified, casting doubt over whether such spousal benefits should be required. Because that differential treatment infringes Obergefell's commitment to provide same-sex couples "the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage", we reverse the state court's judgment.

Jim Obergefell speaks at a press conference at the state capitol in Austin, Texas, following the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality in June 2015.

Texas Values, an activist group for social conservatives, and Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, who supported the challenge on the benefits, applauded the decision.

While the Texas law remains on the books, Parker mandated that it no longer be enforced in Houston, ordering the city to "extend benefits" to government employees' same-sex spouses who'd been legally married elsewhere.

"I'm extremely pleased that the Texas Supreme Court recognized that Texas law is still important when it comes to marriage", Paxton said in a statement.

The Texas Supreme Court's decision to reverse the lower court's ruling offering marriage benefits to same sex couples is not the end of the matter.

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The Texas Supreme Court's decision does not outright declare that these two "devout Christians" should win this case, but it does keep their suit alive by claiming that Obergefell left open an unresolved question.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer advocacy organizations condemned the decision as undercutting marriage equality.

The city of Houston, the defendant in the case, is expected appeal the ruling.

Footnote 21: On the same day the Supreme Court issued its per curiam opinion in Pavan, it also granted certiorari in another case involving a same-sex-marriage issue Obergefell did not address. In addition to reversing the lower court's ruling, the Court sent the case back to the Houston trial court for further litigation and acknowledged that ambiguities in the Obergefell decision would inevitably lead to more such cases for courts to hash out. That indicates that not only do same-sex couples have the right to marry, but a right to the benefits that flow from marriage, especially to protect children of same-sex couples who are married. Equality Texas called it "patently indefensible", and Lambda Legal said it "defies all logic and reason". The couple was having a commitment ceremony with no legal recognition or effect, and the baker did not want to provide a cake, in violation of state anti-discrimination law.

Expect this case to make a swift journey through the federal courts.

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