Hate Trumps Love? Red State Defies Supreme Court To Deny Same-Sex Couples Equal Rights
possibly To be Resolved in October sCOTUS ruling
With the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Civil Rights Commission scheduled for Supreme Court arguments this October, you may have believed the last vestiges of legal discrimination against same-sex couples may be coming closer to an end. But, hold on. That’s only if the Lone Star State can’t find any loopholes first.
According to a Houston Chronicle report, a unanimous decision was reached by the Texas Supreme Court today proving that the “Old Confederacy” still harbors distaste for equal rights. But racial discrimination is not the subject this time.
related link: Republican War On Women: Texas Just Cut Medicaid Subsidies To Planned Parenthood (VIDEO)
Revolving around state law and spousal benefits for government workers, the highest court in Texas ruled today that same-sex spouses of government workers are not entitled to the same benefits as spouses of opposite-sex couples. Why? According to Slate.com, a prior ruling in Pidgeon v. Turner claimed the city of Houston was “expending significant public funds on an illegal activity.” How, you ask? Well, when the policy was reversed in 2013 in accordance with the federal same-sex marriage ban ruled unconstitutional by SCOTUS, two plaintiffs, (taxpayers Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks) argued that it was in direct violation of Texas’ state ban on same-sex marriages.
Now while all of this turmoil and legal chicanery took place, 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges’ decision came down invalidating state-level same-sex marriage bans. And what followed was a bouncing of decisions, up-and-down, between federal and state high-courts and appeals courts.
What has made matters even more convoluted? This Tuesday in the Pavan v. Smith ruling, SCOTUS determined that the prohibition of the inclusion of both members of a same-sex couple on a baby’s birth certificate is unconstitutional. And how did this come into play? The Texas court decision stated today that,
…to hear and consider Masterpiece Cakeshop illustrates that neither Obergefell nor Pavan provides the final word on the tangential questions Obergefell’s holdings raise but Obergefell itself did not address.
related link: Supreme Court Bars Discrimination That Favors Mothers Over Fathers in Citizenship Case
I know you’re asking yourself, “What political shenanigans are at play here? Why would the Texas State Supreme Court make such a decision challenging Obgerfell and Pavan as not definitive?” Well, as the Slate article commented,
This maneuver is an oblique way for Texas Supreme Court to defy Obergefell without acknowledging what it’s doing.
And why would they want this? Texas Supreme Court Justices are elected officials. The loss of a judges’ seat on the bench must have played into making this decision in a deep- red state. As for further evidence of this presumption, during the course of the bouncing between state and federal courts described earlier, a group of high-profile Republicans pressured a court to rehear a decision that looked like it had the matter settled, according to Slate.com.
These loopholes and false exceptions show that there are no bounds to which a segment of the population will fight against equal rights. Will any other slights-of-hand be made by unscrupulous Texas lawyers after SCOTUS makes its ruling on Masterpiece Cakeshop this October? For the nation, and the very personal lives of our fellow citizens, I hope not.
Featured Image Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.