Texas Supreme Court Throws Out Ruling That Gave Gay Couples Same Benefits As Opposite-Sex Couples

The Texas Supreme Court has rejected a lower court’s ruling that found same-sex couples are entitled to the same benefits as opposite-sex couples.

The case has now been sent back to the lower court for review.

“In Obergefell, the Supreme Court acknowledged that our historical view of marriage has long been ‘based on the understanding that marriage is a union between two persons of the opposite sex,'” Justice Jeffrey S. Boyd wrote in the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion. “It concluded, however, that this ‘history is the beginning of these cases,’ and it rejected the idea that it ‘should be the end as well’.”

But Boyd went on: “Obergefell is not the end either.”

Today’s ruling will affect spouses of public employees who would have otherwise been entitled to government-subsidized same-sex marriage benefits.

Writes the Texas Tribune:

The decision by the Texas Supreme Court to take up the case was regarded as an unusual move because it had previously declined to take it up last year. That allowed the lower court decision to stand.

But the state’s highest civil court reversed course in January after receiving an outpouring of letters opposing the decision. They also faced pressure from Texas GOP leadership — spearheaded by Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — who asked the court to clarify that Obergefell does not include a “command” to public employers regarding employee benefits.

Following today’s ruling, Paxton has said he is “extremely pleased that the Texas Supreme Court recognized that Texas law is still important when it comes to marriage.”

LGBT advocacy groups have already started to release their own statements as well.

“The Texas Supreme Court’s decision this morning is a warning shot to all LGBTQ Americans that the war on marriage equality is ever-evolving, and anti-LGBTQ activists will do anything possible to discriminate against our families,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD.