The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal of a Texas Supreme Court ruling from June saying that SCOTUS’ 2015 Obergefell ruling on marriage equality does not automatically require that same-sex couples be given the same rights and privileges as opposite-sex couples, leaving room for state courts to explore “the reach and ramifications”of marriage-related issues arising from the legalization of same-sex marriage, the Texas Tribune is reporting.
SCOTUS issued its decision without further comment.
The Texas Supreme Court, ruling in Pigeon v. Turner in June, declared that the Obergefell decision didn’t relate to all marriage matters, only the right to marry, and that states had a right to regulate how the decision was implemented. The Texas Supreme Court threw out a lower court ruling in the case — brought by right-wing forces in Houston trying to force the city to rescind benefits offered to same-sex spouses of city employees — that said spouses of gay and lesbian public employees are entitled to government-subsidized same-sex marriage benefits, and then unanimously ordered a trial court to reconsider the case.
Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation declared in a tweet that this “alarming ruling … plainly undercuts the rights of married same-sex couples.”
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders tweeted: “This case will continue through the TX courts. The correct answer is clear: Obergefell says that married same-sex couples must be treated the same as different-sex married couples.”
And Eric Lesh, director of Lambda Legal’s Fair Courts Project, said on Twitter: “The chipping away of Obergefell is underway. Just as SCOTUS prepares to hear a case which could gut civil rights laws. Make no mistake, LGBT rights are under attack in the courts.”
Lesh was referring to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, set for oral arguments before the Supreme Court tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 5), over a Colorado baker’s claim that he has the right, based on his religious beliefs, to discriminate against LGBT people and same-sex couples. The case began when the baker refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.