Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an opinion yesterday stating that domestic partner benefits offered by local governments and school districts are unconstitutional, the AP reports:
Tea party-backed state Sen. Dan Patrick sought the ruling in November. The Houston Republican argued that Texas amended its constitution in 2005 to define marriage as between one man and one woman, while prohibiting government entities from recognizing anything similar to marriage.
The cities of El Paso, Austin and Fort Worth have offered some benefits to domestic partners. Pflugerville, outside Austin, became the state's first school district to extend similar benefits.
The Dallas Voice has more:
Ken Upton, Dallas-based senior staff attorney for the LGBT civil rights group Lambda Legal, said Abbott’s opinion is hardly surprising. Abbott has also used the marriage amendment to try to prevent same-sex couples legally married in other states from obtaining divorces in Texas.
“He didn’t do anything we didn’t expect,” Upton said. “The truth is, it’s just an opinion.”
Upton said if a local government that offers DP benefits decides to rescind them based on the AG’s opinion, employees losing benefits for their partners likely would sue. On the flip side, a disgruntled anti-gay taxpayer could try to sue if money is being used to offer DP benefits.
Read Abbott's opinion, AFTER THE JUMP...