The unanimous decision came Friday morning and threw out a lower courts ruling that allowed government subsidized benefits for spouses in same-sex marriages, according to The Texas Tribune. As the State itself makes marriage all the more precious by the significance it attaches to it, exclusion from that status has the effect of teaching that gays and lesbians are unequal in important respects. "While the U.S. Supreme Court declared a right to same-sex marriage, that ruling did not resolve all legal issues related to marriage". 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.
Conservative activists will argue to the trial court that the decision to offer same-sex benefits was an overreach by the Houston mayor's office that violated state law, and that benefits shouldn't be supported by taxpayers who would consider it a violation of sincerely held religious beliefs, Woodfill said.
As the Supreme Court held in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Constitution "entitles same-sex couples to civil marriage 'on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.'" Indeed, just this week in Pavan v. Smith, the Court reaffirmed its holding that the benefits of marriage must be granted to same-sex couples "on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples". Dan Patrickand Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton - who asked the court to clarify that Obergefell does not include a "command" to public employers regarding employee benefits.
They lost their case and, in September, the state Supreme Court initially rejected their appeal.
The plaintiffs, Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks, a pastor and an accountant, argued that the top US court's same-sex marriage decision was poorly reasoned and same-sex couples were not entitled to spousal employment benefits.
The groups argued that the U.S. Supreme Court didn't declare spousal benefits a fundamental right of marriage, and that it should be up to states to decide. Naturally, the parties did not raise their current arguments in the trial court or in the court of appeals, and neither court ruled on them.
It followed the 2015 US Supreme Court ruling, which had found that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry and enjoy equal protection under the law. "From time immemorial, family law has been left to the states".
Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO of LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD, said: "The LGBTQ community and our allies must remain visible and push back harder than ever against attacks on acceptance".