Latest News 2017 August Texas Rules Against Public Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

Texas Rules Against Public Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

In the 2015 landmark decision Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognize marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples out-of-state. However, last month the Texas Supreme Court ruled that this decision does not extend to publicly-funded benefits provided to couples in Houston.

The court recognized that the Constitution compels states to recognize marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples, but that it does not require the states to offer the same public benefits to all married couples. However, despite their decision honoring the original court's decision, they did not reinstate the injunction issued by the same court. The original court's injunction kept the city of Houston from issuing benefits to same-sex married couples who were married outside of the city's jurisdiction.

The case went to the Lower Court of Appeals, and they remanded the case with orders to proceed in light of the De Leon v. Perry ruling. In De Leon v. Perry, the Fifth Court of Appeals ruled that Texas' same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. This case revolved around the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage as well as "corresponding statutes" relating to marriage.

The plaintiffs' argument was that barring same-sex couples from the benefits afforded to heterosexual couples was as unconstitutional as an outright ban.

The Texas court's decision arrives in the middle of a series of recent decisions worldwide regarding the rights of homosexual couples. Germany's legislature recently legalized same-sex marriage and voted to compensate thousands of people who had been mistreated or imprisoned for their sexual identity. Taiwan recently issued a ruling that legalizes gay marriage in their nation as well. Nebraska's Supreme Court ruled to effectively end a ban on same-sex foster parents.

Perhaps the most controversial decision is yet to come—in late June, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of a bakery who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Categories: Same Sex Couples