U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Take Houston Same-Sex Benefits Case

The case centers on whether the City of Houston can provide the same benefits to the spouses of employees in same-sex couples that it provides to married heterosexual employees and their families.

By Rhonda FanningDecember 4, 2017 10:49 am

The U.S. Supreme Court has turned down a request to review a case from Texas that centers on whether, after the landmark decision permitting same sex marriage, those couples are entitled to the same employee benefits provided to heterosexual couples.

The case began as a challenge to the City of Houston’s policy granting the same benefits to married same-sex employees as those provided to heterosexual workers. An injunction against the policy was granted, and the Texas Supreme Court upheld the bar on providing benefits on a preliminary basis.

Charles “Rocky” Rhodes, who teaches constitutional law at Texas College of Law in Houston says the U.S. Supreme Court only takes one percent of cases brought before it each year, and that the Houston case occupies a “strange procedural posture.”

“One of the problems about this case is that it was really a very preliminary decision, based on a preliminary injunction that had been granted and then removed,” Rhodes says.

Rhodes says he believes the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case indicates that it doesn’t feel the case is ready for such a hearing. He says the case will be returned to a trial court, which will determine whether city employees and their same-sex spouses are entitled to benefits.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.