Annise Parker | Houston | News

Lambda Legal Sues Houston To Reinstate Same-Sex Employee Benefits

In November, openly lesbian Houston Mayor Annise Parker decreed that city employees who legally married their same-sex in other states could now qualify for spousal health and life insurance benefits. Soon after, a judge suspended the payment of all benefits pending the outcome of a lawsuit brought against Parker by the Harris County Republican Party for her "illegal" order.

AnniseNow the LGBT-advocacy group Lambda Legal is suing the city on behalf of three same-sex couples to have Parker's promised benefits reinstated. Kenneth Upton, Senior Counsel in Lambda Legal’s South Central Regional Office in Dallas said:

“City employees who are married to same-sex spouses are doing the same work as coworkers who are married to different-sex spouses—at the end of the day this case is about equal pay for equal work.These employees, some who have worked for the City for many years, acted in good faith when notified the City was extending health coverage benefits to their legal spouses."

"They enrolled for spousal benefits, including health insurance, paid the premiums, scheduled doctor visits and underwent treatments that will require ongoing care. Now, suddenly, the rug is pulled out from under them.”

In 2011, El Paso county in Texas experienced a similar situation when a local anti-gay activist sued to city to stop it from extending health benefits to domestic partners. The activist said that extending benefits was in violation of the Texas constitution which specifically states, "a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage." Thus far, a District Court has said the El Paso benefits do not violate the state constitution.

Houston's situation is different however as it focuses on mayoral power rather than the constitutionality of said benefits. The case against Parker will go before a judge on January 6, 2014.

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  1. THIS is why we need t support LGBT candidates

    Posted by: Jessie | Dec 27, 2013 10:01:58 PM

  2. As homophobic positions begin to seem more and more outdated and selfish, they will quietly become a bellwether among voters seeking change. Fighting against a popular and very effective mayor will only hasten the change in Texas from red state to blue state. Hopefully, Latino voters will seal the deal soon.

    And what a change it will be - when Texas goes blue, Republicans can forget about the White House for many years to come. Yum.

    Posted by: Rob | Dec 28, 2013 6:51:15 AM

  3. @Bob,

    If you think so called Latino or Hispanic people are all pro homosexuality, you're delusional. They in fact are the main reason for booming evangelical ultra conservative churches.

    Sure, as so as the U.S. becomes majority so called brown, black or fill in the blank, everything will be peachy keen. Go back to your doctor and ask him to adjust your meds.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Dec 28, 2013 10:36:39 AM

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