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

By Sara Shayanian  |  Dec. 4, 2017 at 12:50 PM
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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.

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."

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.

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."

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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