The Texas Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a Houston case that Republican lawmakers hope will limit the powers of marriage equality throughout the state.
A group of Houston legislators and conservative activists filed a lawsuit with the court this past September seeking to halt the same-sex spousal benefits the city currently offers its municipal employees. At the time, the justices ruled not to hear the case as it defied the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.
However, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a subsequent brief stating that the case could allow Texas to retool the scope of marriage equality.
“Major constitutional rulings by the United States Supreme Court routinely give rise to waves of litigation exploring the contours and limits of the court’s pronouncement,” the three Republicans wrote in their October suit. “This case is one of many cases that will require state courts to examine the scope of the right to same-sex marriage announced by the Supreme Court.”
The brief went on to note that Texas had banned same-sex marriage after a 2005 amendment was approved by legislators and voters statewide, arguing that state courts should be “particularly wary of using the federal constitution [to undo] the work of state lawmakers.”
Marriage equality isn’t the only thing the conservative lawmakers are urging the state’s highest court to dismantle—they’re also seeking to reinstate tougher abortion restrictions.
“This court has the opportunity to diminish federal tyranny and re-establish Texas sovereignty,” legislators wrote.
In rebuttal, attorneys for the city of Houston stated: “The governor and attorney general cannot now take the position that a Texas court may enforce those same unconstitutional laws to deprive same-sex married couples of rights afforded other married couples.”
This is just the latest move Texas conservatives have made against the state’s LGBT community. Last November, Tea Party state Sen. Konni Burton pushed a bill that would require teachers to out students to their families and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick supported an anti-trans bathroom bill akin to North Carolina’s horrendous HB 2.