Texas Values files brief arguing domestic partner benefits are illegal

Posted on 10 Dec 2012 at 1:24pm

Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz

Following Friday’s announcement that justices will take up two key cases involving same-sex marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court did not issue any further orders Monday on gay-related cases that it’s been asked to hear.

Experts say this probably means the court plans to hold those cases until it decides the cases it will hear — one challenging Proposition 8, California’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and one challenging the Defense of Marriage Act’s prohibition on recognition of same-sex marriages by the federal government.

The Supreme Court has also been asked to hear other challenges to DOMA, as well as Diaz v. Brewer, a case involving Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s attempt to rescind domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian state employees based on the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Diaz v. Brewer could have major implications for Texas, where Republican state Sen. Dan Patrick recently requested an opinion from Attorney General Greg Abbott about whether domestic partner benefits offered by government entities violate the Lone Star State’s marriage amendment.

In related news, the anti-gay Texas Values group, along with the Alliance Defending Freedom, filed a “Memorandum of Law” to Abbott’s office last week explaining why the group believes that DP benefits offered by Pflugerville Independent School District violate state law.

“PISD’s attempt to create and recognize a legal status similar to marriage, and to grant to cohabiting persons legal benefits otherwise granted only to spouses of a marriage, should be recognized for what it is—a clear violation of both the Texas Constitution and the Texas Family Code,” Texas Values wrote in the memorandum. “This cynical and brazen attempt to flout the will of Texas voters and their democratically elected representatives by administrative fiat should not be tolerated, and must be met with forceful opposition. While the analysis of this brief focuses specifically on the recent actions by the Pflugerville Independent School District, we believe a similar analysis of any other political subdivisions engaged in the same government action in Texas would result in the same conclusions highlighted in this brief. We trust that the foregoing analysis will be helpful to you in that endeavor.”

The Pflugerville school board is set to reconsider the district’s decision to offer DP benefits on Dec. 13.

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