In a blow to the radical gay lobby, the U.S. Supreme Court has come to the support of a Texas rule that could deny gay spouses government-subsidized workplace benefits.
In June the Texas Supreme Court ruled that state governments and municipalities do not necessarily have to pay out workplace benefits to gay spouses and overturned a lower state court’s decision to force cities to pay the benefits. But gay advocates took the decision to the nation’s highest court hoping to bypass the Texas Supreme Court and force the issue to become a national ruling, according to The Spokesman-Review.
The case erupted when a group of socially conservative and religious groups sued the city of Houston in 2013 after the city decided to allow the payout of benefits to gay spouses of municipal employees.
But on Monday, the U.S. Supremes decided not to hear the case allowing the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling to stand as law. The federal court’s decision came without dissent or comment, so that means the court as a whole decided not to take the case.
Naturally, radical gay groups bemoaned the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to take a pass on the case:
Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of the civil rights group GLAAD, said the U.S. Supreme Court “has just let an alarming ruling by the Texas Supreme Court stand which plainly undercuts the rights of married same-sex couples.”
“Today’s abnegation by the nation’s highest court opens the door for an onslaught of challenges to the rights of LGBTQ people at every step,” Ellis said in a statement.
Another gay advocate whined about how he had hoped that the U.S. Supreme Court would find “the Texas decision was so wrong that the court wouldn’t sit by and let it go.” But it wasn’t to be. The Supremes waved it off and were uninterested in re-visiting the Texas high court’s decision.
Conservative groups celebrated the decision and noted that even in its original Obama-era pro gay marriage decision, the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t rule that gay spouses must be paid workplace benefits. The groups said that this week’s decision to ignore the Texas case reiterates that the states should be the ones allowed to decide if they want to pay out such benefits.
Jared Woodfill, a Houston attorney and conservative activist at the center of the case, called Monday’s action by the nation’s high court, “A nice early Christmas present.”
“The U.S. Supreme court could have taken the case and used it to further expand Obergefell. They chose not to,” he said. “It’s confirmation that the Texas Supreme Court got it right.”
“It obviously has precedential value, not just for Texas but the entire country,” Woodfill said of the U.S. Supreme Court’s action.
Despite the ruling, it appears that other gay litigants are not prepared to let this go unaddressed.
Several gay employees in Houston are preparing a federal lawsuit against the state of Texas saying that the decision puts all same-sex benefits in danger all across the country.
Still, the U.S. high court’s decision will make it easier for city governments to deny same-sex benefits of all kinds.