Mayor's Office Press Release

Mayor, City Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Review Texas Ruling Against Same-Sex Marriage Rights

September 15, 2017 -- The City of Houston and Mayor Sylvester Turner today filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court that asks the Court to review the June 30, 2017 decision of the Texas Supreme Court in Pidgeon v. Parker.

In Pidgeon, the Texas court held that in Obergefell v. Hodges and Pavan v. Smith the United States Supreme Court “did not hold that states must provide the same publicly funded benefits to all married persons,” regardless of whether their marriages are same-sex or opposite-sex.

But in fact, Obergefell, decided in 2015, recognized a nationwide right to civil marriage for same-sex couples, and held that the benefits a state attaches to marriage must be provided equally to all married couples, whether same-sex or opposite-sex.

In Pavan, decided June 26, 2017, the Court reaffirmed that Obergefell requires that same-sex marriages are entitled the same “constellation of benefits” afforded opposite-sex marriages.

The city continues to provide spousal benefits to all of its married employees. It hopes the Supreme Court will grant the petition for writ of certiorari and establish once and for all that the constitutional rights guaranteed under Obergefell and Pavan apply to all married couples.

The city is represented by Alexander Dubose Jefferson & Townsend LLP. Lead counsel is Wallace B Jefferson, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. Douglas W. Alexander, who argued the case for the city at the Texas Supreme Court, also appears for the city.