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, ...
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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