University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
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) were 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 the final decision on the constitutionality of the Texas marriage ban in De Leon v. Perry (PB-TX-0004 in this Clearinghouse).

While De Leon was being considered by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court released its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, 2015, holding that state bans on same-sex marriage violated the liberty and equality guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment. On July 1, 2015, the Fifth Circuit released its decision in De Leon, applying the Obergefell decision and finding the Texas marriage ban unconstitutional.

On July 6, 2015, Judge Sim Lake dismissed this case, finding Plaintiffs' claims moot in light of the recent decisions in both Obergefell and De Leon. Both parties were ordered to bear their own costs and fees. This case is now closed.

Megan Dolan - 08/05/2014
David Hamstra - 03/22/2015
Michael Beech - 03/24/2019


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
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 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
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
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2013
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-TX-0004 : De Leon v. Perry (W.D. Tex.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
4:13-cv-03755 (W.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0471-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/06/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Plaintiffs' Original Complaint for Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief and Declaratory Judgment [ECF# 1]
EE-TX-0471-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/26/2013
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 [ECF# 13] (S.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0471-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/29/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Lake, Simeon Timothy III (S.D. Tex.) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0471-0002 | EE-TX-0471-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Upton, Kenneth D. (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0471-0001 | EE-TX-0471-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Feldman, David M. (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0471-9000
Ramsey, Judith L. (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0471-9000
Other Lawyers Mitchell, Jonathan F. (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-TX-0471-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -