Conservative Republicans of Texas Want to Ban All Marriage Benefits to Spite the Gays
It’s not often you see a political organization motivated entirely by spite, but that’s the Conservative Republicans of Texas (CRT) for you. Three years after the Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality once and for all (uh, hopefully), the CRT is still fighting it. Their latest salvo is the case Pidgeon v. Turner, which alleges that Houston has been violating Texas‘ ban on marriage equality by providing benefits to same-sex partners the same as they would for opposite-sex married couples.
The Conservative Republicans of Texas — designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, by the way — argue that Houston is violating state law by following the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling. The argument is that Houston is forcing taxpayers who believe being gay is a sin to pay for the benefits for gay couples.
But don’t worry, the CRT realizes it’s ridiculous to ask the court to only remove spousal benefits for homosexual couples. After all, that’d just be silly. So, obviously, they’re asking the court to remove all spousal benefits.
The argument goes that by not paying any spousal benefits, Houston can follow both the Supreme Court’s rulings and the state-level marriage equality ban at the same time. After all, Obergefell and the later ruling Pavan v. Smith said that same-sex couples must have access to all the same rights as opposite-sex couples. So if straight couples don’t get benefits, Texas can deny gay couples their benefits, too.
Sadly, though the CRT’s arguments are utterly ridiculous, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously ruled in the group’s favor, which held that Obergefell “did not hold that states must provide the same publicly funded benefits to all married persons.” The Court didn’t decide on the case, however, but merely sent it back to a lower court.
Though Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, appealed this decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. So that’s where Pidgeon v. Turner sits — before State District Judge Lisa Millard, who ruled in favor of the Conservative Republicans of Texas back in 2013, before the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling. Unfortunately, it’s unclear whether or not Millard will make the same decision she did back in 2013.