University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Freeman v. Parker EE-TX-0471
Docket / Court 4:13-CV-03755 ( S.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Attorney Organization Lambda Legal
Case Summary
On December 26, 2013, three city employees married to same-sex partners filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Texas under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the city of Houston. The plaintiffs, represented by an attorney from the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, ... read more >
On December 26, 2013, three city employees married to same-sex partners filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Texas under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the city of Houston. The plaintiffs, represented by an attorney from the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief. Specifically, plaintiffs asked the court to declare that the Texas state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage (Texas Marriage Amendment and the Texas DOMA) are unconstitutional, and to enjoin the City of Houston from withdrawing or denying spousal benefits for same-sex spouses of city employees.

The case began after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Windsor v. United States (PB-NY-0017 in this Clearinghouse), when the City of Houston changed its benefits policy: same-sex spouses of city employees, who were legally married in another state, could now qualify for spousal benefits. Three city employees enrolled for these benefits. But on December 17, 2013, a state court, the District Court for Harris County, Texas, issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the City to "cease and desist providing benefits to same-sex spouses of employees that have married in jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage." As a result, the City told the plaintiffs that the spousal benefits they currently had might be interrupted and terminated, while different-sex spouses would continue to receive their city benefits. In response, the plaintiffs brought this suit in federal district court arguing that the denial of benefits and the ban on same-sex marriage violated their rights under the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

On August 29, 2014, the District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Judge Sim Lake) granted plaintiffs' unopposed motion for a preliminary injunction and stay, thereby preventing the City from terminating same-sex spousal benefits until the case was resolved, and staying the proceedings pending a final decision on the constitutionality of the Texas marriage ban in De Leon v. Perry (PB-TX-0004 in this Clearinghouse).

As of March 22, 2015, De Leon is ongoing and this case remains stayed.

Megan Dolan - 08/05/2014
David Hamstra - 03/22/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-area
Pay / Benefits
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of Houston
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are several same-sex couples living in the city of Houston who wish to be granted spousal benefits.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lambda Legal
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PB-TX-0004 : De Leon v. Perry (W.D. Tex.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple’s 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:13-cv-03755 (W.D. Tex.) 08/29/2014
EE-TX-0471-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Plaintiffs' Original Complaint for Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief and Declaratory Judgment 12/26/2013
EE-TX-0471-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Preliminary Injunction and Staying Proceedings Pending Final Determination of the Constitutionality of Texas Marriage Ban 08/29/2014 (S.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0471-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Lake, Simeon Timothy III (S.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0471-0002 | EE-TX-0471-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Upton, Kenneth D. (Texas)
EE-TX-0471-0001 | EE-TX-0471-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Feldman, David M. (Texas)
EE-TX-0471-9000
Ramsey, Judith L. (Texas)
EE-TX-0471-9000
Other Lawyers Mitchell, Jonathan F. (Texas)
EE-TX-0471-9000

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