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Supreme Court rejects Texas same-sex marriage appeal, weighs sports betting ban

By Sara Shayanian
Supreme Court rejects Texas same-sex marriage appeal, weighs sports betting ban
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left in place a Texas ruling that said the right to marry does not entitle same-sex couples to additional benefits. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday decided to let stand a Texas ruling that said the right to marry in that state does not entitle same-sex couples to additional benefits extended to heterosexual couples.

The city of Houston asked the high court to overturn a state decision from June that said complex marriage-related issues -- like insurance for government employees -- were left undecided in 2015 when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.

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As a result, Texas justices said, the other marriage-related matters could be decided by state courts.

Houston attorneys had argued the Texas ruling was wrong because "equal recognition of same-sex marriage requires more than a marriage license; it requires equal access to the constellation of benefits that the state has linked to marriage."

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Texas' high court ruled gay marriage is legal under case law, but did not believe the Supreme Court answered further marriage-related questions.

Monday, the Supreme Court let the ruling stand, without comment.

The issue began in 2013, when then-Houston Mayor Annise Parker began offering employee benefits to the same-sex spouses of employees who had been legally married -- a move that drew a lawsuit.

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Opponents of same-sex marriage launched a campaign to get the state court to reconsider and urged the Supreme Court to reject the appeal.

"Mayor Annise Parker defied the law by providing spousal benefits to same-sex couples at a time when same-sex marriage was illegal in Texas," Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values, said.

"What an incredible early Christmas present from the U. S. Supreme Court."

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The Texas case was one of multiple issues the Supreme Court acted on Monday. It also heard arguments about legalized sports betting in a case brought by New Jersey government officials.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, backed by 18 other states, asked justices to remove a federal law that bars states other than Nevada from allowing sports gambling.

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