Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Chipping Away

The chipping away of our rights be the courts have begun, this time it spousal benefits. Will we be next?
Supreme Court Lets Stand Texas Ruling That Could Undermine Marriage Equality
The Advocate
By Trudy Ring
December 4, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a Texas Supreme Court ruling that said the right to marry did not mean same-sex couples also had the right to spousal benefits.

The Texas court made its ruling last June in a case involving the city of Houston, which was sued by a coalition of conservatives to block a plan put forth in 2013 to offer spousal benefits to municipal employees in same-sex marriages. A local court ruled against the city, but an appeals court ruled in its favor, leading the coalition to appeal to the state Supreme Court, which found that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality ruling did not necessarily mean government entities must provide equal benefits to all couples. It sent the case back to the Harris County District Court in Houston to decide this question.
Does that make sense?

We can marry legally but states do not have to prove benefits? So we are right back to separate and unequal
Houston appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which today rejected the case without comment, the Austin American-Statesman reports. This lets the Texas ruling stand, and the Harris County court will consider the matter. The high court does not usually comment when rejecting an appeal.
That is one ray of hope; it means that the case could be resubmitted. It is not dead just in limbo.

So now the case goes back to the Texas Supreme Court,
Two LGBT-focused legal groups, GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, issued a reminder not to give up: "This case is not over. It will now return to the Texas trial court for a final decision. It was an uphill battle to persuade the Supreme Court to grant review at this juncture because of the court’s firm rule about taking cases only after a final judgment even where, as we noted in our friend of the court brief, a lower court ruling is subverting an important federal policy. We hope and expect the Texas trial court, on remand, will uphold spousal benefits for employees married to a person of the same sex, as Obergefell and common sense require."  
And don’t forget that today the Supreme Court hears the oral arguments for the Masterpiece Cakeshop religious exemptions case.

Expect to see more bad decisions as Trump packs the courts with religious bigots.

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