Neel Lane, attorney for the Texas marriage equality lawsuit, said he filed a lawsuit today in federal court in San Antonio charging Kirk Cole, commissioner of the Department of State Health Services and Attorney General Ken Paxton with contempt of court and asking for a change on his client’s husband’s death certificate.
James Stone died in February. The death certificate lists his husband as “significant other” and Texas refuses to amend the certificate. The head of the DSHS, under instruction from Paxton, said the state will make no changed.
Lane charges that the ruling made by Judge Orlando Garcia in February 2014 and upheld by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals applies. In his ruling, Garcia ordered the state to stop enforcing a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and to offer all the same benefits of marriage to legally married same-sex couples. The order was stayed and the stay not lifted until after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision.
Lane’s position is that Garcia’s ruling is in effect from February 2014 so same-sex couples’ rights should at least date from there. The Obergefell decision allows couples who were married to file amended taxes that go back three years. Other rights may date back farther.