Does Same Sex Marriage Equal Same Sex Marriage Benefits

The Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in a lawsuit that seeks to limit the scope of the landmark ruling that legalized gay marriage in Texas and other states.

At issue is whether the same sex spouses of state workers should get access to benefits.  Jonathan Saenz, Texas Values President and lead attorney in the case, says the U.S. Supreme Court ruling should be read as narrowly as possible.  

“Wednesday’s oral argument will be an important step in defending our state’s marriage laws and protecting taxpayers’ right to not be forced to fund same-sex benefits with tax dollars," he says.

He argues that a lower appellate court wrongly allowed the city of Houston’s benefits policy to be implemented without addressing questions of the effect of the decision on state law. 

But gay marriage advocates say that argument is absurd.  Mark Pharris, the former San Antonio resident who was at the heart of the lawsuit in Texas that challenged the state's gay marriage ban, says the reason he was victorious was because the judge at San Antonio's federal court saw he was being denied benefits.

Pharris tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI, this current lawsuit is nothing more than political grandstanding."There is no doubt that it gives Texas a black eye. 

There is absolutely no doubt," he says.  "Texans are better than our elected officials."

The Texas Supreme Court, in September, turned down the case, but in October, attorneys filed a motion for rehearing.  Dozens of state lawmakers, Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton signed on for support.  In a somewhat surprising move, the high court did an about face and allowed the hearing, which will take place, today, in Austin.

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