Federal Judge Denies Request to Halt Spousal Benefits for Gay Houston City Employees

A federal judge on Thursday denied a request for a stay that would have halted spousal benefits for gay Houston city employees, Lone Star Q reports:

ParkerU.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal considered the request after the case was moved from state court to federal court by the defendants — Mayor Annise Parker and the city of Houston.

Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill, on behalf of taxpayers Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks, sued Parker and the city in December after she extended benefits to the same-sex spouses of city employees who are legally married in other states.

State District Judge Lisa Millard, a Republican, issued a restraining order halting the benefits, before the city moved the case to federal court, where Woodfill sought another restraining order. Following a lengthy hearing on Thursday afternoon in Houston, Rosenthal denied the request.

In related news, Parker called for an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance in her inaugural address on Tuesday.