Americans for Marriage Equality

State ResourcesTexas

Status: Constitutional ban on marriage equality declared unconstitutional by federal court – stayed pending appeal.

In DeLeon v. Perry, two same-sex couples, represented by private counsel, are challenging Texas's marriage ban in federal court. The plaintiffs argue that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates their rights to due process and equal protection under the U.S. Constitution, in addition to the Full Faith and Credit Clause.  In February 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that Texas' ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and stayed his decision pending an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

In two cases, In re Marriage of J.B. and H.B. and State of Texas v. Naylor and Daly, same-sex couples, represented by private counsel, are seeking to dissolve their Massachusetts marriages in state court. In January 2009, a trial court granted J.B. and H.B. a divorce, but this was overturned by an intermediate appellate court in August 2010, which concluded that Texas's marriage ban bars courts from recognizing out-of-state marriages. Similarly, in February 2010, a trial judge agreed to dissolve Naylor and Daly's marriage, but that decision was overturned by an appeals court in January 2011. Both cases are now pending before the Texas Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in November 2013. A decision is expected at any time.

In McNosky v. Perry, a same-sex couple who was denied a marriage license in Fort Worth filed a complaint in federal court in July 2013 challenging Texas’ ban on marriage equality. And in Zahrn v. Perry, lawyers in Austin have also filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking marriage equality for all same-sex couples who want to marry in the Lone Star State. That complaint was filed in October 2013.

From Lambda Legal: Freeman v. Parker was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas against Houston Mayor Annise Parker and the City of Houston seeking to preserve spousal benefits, including health insurance coverage, for the same-sex spouses of city employees. The lawsuit was filed on behalf three City of Houston employees legally married to same-sex spouses in other jurisdictions and follows notification these employees received that the City, one month after extending the coverage to their spouses, was being forced to withdraw these benefits and cancel the coverage. On November 20, 2013, Mayor Parker announced that all lawfully-married City employees, including those who married same-sex partners in jurisdictions where such marriages are legal, would be eligible to enroll for spousal benefits, including health insurance coverage, under the City’s employee compensation plan. The three plaintiffs named in Lambda Legal’s lawsuit enrolled their spouses as soon as they received notification of the policy change. Shortly thereafter, however, two Houston taxpayers sued the Mayor and the City in Family Law Court claiming the benefits were illegal and, without giving the Mayor or the City notice, secured a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking extension of the benefits. The City is resisting the taxpayer action in separate proceedings.  Awaiting judge’s ruling on motion to consolidate with Pidgeon. Initial conference set for 4/25/14.