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SCOTUS lets stand without remark Pidgeon v. Turner

In 2014 U.S. District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division ruled in favor of Pidgeon and Hicks.
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Daily Kos

The United States Supreme Court passed without comment on the case of Pidgeon v. Turner on Monday.

Back in 2013 then mayor Annise Parker extended benefits for same-sex workers who were legally married in other states.

"Based on the right to equal protection under the law, it is unconstitutional for the city to continue to deny benefits to the same-sex spouses of our employees who are legally married," Parker said at the time. "We believe that the only constitutional, just, right and fair thing to do is to extend benefits to all of our married employees, whether they are heterosexual or same-sex couples."

Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks took issue with that decision and later that same year filed a lawsuit against Parker and City of Houston. 

In 2014 U.S. District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division ruled in favor of Pidgeon and Hicks.

The city appealed that decision and during that time Obergefell v. Hodges passed, which sent it back to trial court for decision in line with SCOTUS ruling.

But anti-LGBT activists wanted the Texas Supreme Court to weigh in which they agreed to do in January 2017.

They ruled that it is not a de facto right to allow government benefits for married gay and lesbian couples.

SCOTUS appeared to agree with that ruling by silently rejecting Pidgeon v. Turner and it has some LGBT activists worried.

Sarah Kate Ellis, President, and CEO of GLAAD said:

“With all eyes on tomorrow’s oral arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop religious exemptions case, the 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.”

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) made a joint statement about the case and where it goes from here. 

"This case is not over. It will now return to the Texas trial court for a final decision. It was an uphill battle to persuade the Supreme Court to grant review at this juncture because of the Court’s firm rule about taking cases only after a final judgment even where, as we noted in our friend of the court brief, a lower court ruling is subverting an important federal policy. We hope and expect the Texas trial court, on remand, will uphold spousal benefits for employees married to a person of the same sex, as Obergefell and common sense require."