Austin, TX – The Texas Supreme Court agreed this morning to grant full review for a case from a lower appellate court on the issue of taxpayer funded benefits for same-sex couples in the city of Houston. Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values and Jared Woodfill are the attorneys in this case representing taxpayers Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks, against Mayor Sylvester Turner and City of Houston. Saenz and Woodfill initially were victorious on this issue before a state trial court in Houston.
“Texas deserves to have the rule of law upheld. Today’s decision is an important step in defending our state’s marriage laws and protecting taxpayers’ right to not be forced by government to fund illegal same-sex benefits,” said Jonathan Saenz, Texas Values President and Attorney. “We thank the Texas Supreme Court for agreeing to hear this important case, and we thank Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and over 70 other elected officials and key leaders for their support in ensuring this important case was heard. We look forward to making our case directly before the Texas Supreme Court soon,” concluded Saenz.
On October 3, 2017 Texas Values formally asked the Texas Supreme Court to reconsider hearing a case against former Houston Mayor Annise Parker (and the City of Houston), who violated the Texas Constitution by issuing same-sex benefits long before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell v Hodges same-sex marriage ruling. Later that month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a joint legal amicus brief in support of petitioners, Houston taxpayers Pastor Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks. The brief urged the Court to reinstate a temporary injunction on gay spousal benefits for Houston city employees until the Court can offer more clarity.
The brief went on to say that while Obergefell obligates the State to grant and recognize same-sex marriages, it does not bind state courts to offer spousal benefits to gay couples.
Furthermore, the brief states, this case raises important questions of federal jurisdiction and of the relationship between federal courts and state law that go well-beyond the scope of the case.
About Texas Values
Texas Values is a nonprofit organization dedicated to standing for faith, family, and freedom in Texas. More information is available at txvalues.org.