Texas Supreme Court rules to undermine marriage equality, take away spousal benefits for LGBTQ couples

Pidgeon v Turner case is a red flag to LGBTQ Americans that fight to protect marriage equality is evolving in age of Trump Administration

NEW YORK – Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD – the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, released the following statement after the Texas Supreme Court issued a decision for the Pidgeon v. Turner court case this morning which could now begin the process to undercut marriage equality by erasing spousal benefits, including health care benefits, for legally married LGBTQ couples in the state of Texas. The Court ruled that there is not a de facto right to government benefits for married gay and lesbian couples.

"The Texas Supreme Court’s decision this morning is a warning shot to all LGBTQ Americans that the war on marriage equality is ever-evolving, and anti-LGBTQ activists will do anything possible to discriminate against our families. In the age of the Trump Administration, which continues to systematically erase LGBTQ Americans from the fabric of this nation, the LGBTQ community and our allies must remain visible and push back harder than ever against attacks on acceptance.”

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Pidgeon V. Turner Timeline

  • Nov. 2005 - Texas bans gay marriage by referendum.
  • Nov. 2013 - After United States v. Windsor, then-mayor Annise Parker extends spouse benefits to city employees in same-sex marriages legally obtained in other states.
  • Dec. 2013 - Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks file a lawsuit against Parker and City of Houston, arguing providing benefits to same-sex spouses violates Texas Constitution and Texas Family Code.
  • Dec. 2013 - Trial court grants temporary injunction halting benefits.
  • Aug. 2014 – U.S. District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division ruled in favor of Pidgeon and Hicks.
  • March 2015 - City appeals decision to Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Texas.
  • June 2015 - While case is on appeal, SCOTUS decides Obergefell v. Hodges.
  • July 2015 - Based on Obergefell, Fourteenth Court of Appeals dissolves injunction and sends matter back to trial court for decision in line with SCOTUS ruling.
  • Sep. 2016 – Anti-LGBTQ activist in Texas launch a letter-writing campaign to pressure Texas Supreme Court Judges, who are elected officials, to reopen the case. Many threatening the judge’s chances of reelection if they do not reconsider.
  • Oct. 2016 – Anti-LGBTQ group, Texas Values, lobbies the Texas Supreme Court to re-open the case.
  • Jan. 2017 – The Supreme Court of Texas agrees to hear the case.
  • Mar. 2017 - Supreme Court of Texas hears arguments in Pidgeon v. Turner; case has support of Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and state senators and representatives, who all filed Amicus briefs.