AUSTIN — The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a Texas Supreme Court ruling that prevented same-sex spouses from having the same workplace insurance benefits as heterosexual couples.
In a unanimous ruling in June, the Texas court acknowledged that same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015 with Obergefell vs. Hodges, but the justices said the decision did not make clear the additional rights of gay couples, in this case those who work for the government.
Houston pastor Jack Pidgeon and accountant Larry Hicks sued the city in 2013 after former Mayor Annise Parker extended spousal benefits to all legally married couples, though a 2001 city charter amendment banned the practice.
The two conservatives argued that city employees did not have a “fundamental right” to receive government-subsidized spousal benefits and that it was “perfectly constitutional” to extend benefits to some married couples and deny them to others.
The Texas Supreme Court agreed that the Obergefell vs. Hodges decision did not address that specific issue.