Saturday, September 3, 2016

Texas Justice Devine's argument has a certain familiar ring to it

Justice John Devine
It is not for lack of effort that Texas Supreme Court Justice John Devine has failed to undermine the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. The case at issue is Pidgeon and Hicks v. Mayor Sylvester Turner and City of Houston whereby Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks sued to enjoin Mayor Annise Parker and the City of Houston from providing employee benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees.
Jonathan Saenz
Jonathan Saenz

In other words, the plaintiffs wanted to require the City of Houston to discriminate against same-sex couples. This seems have been orchestrated by Jonathan Saenz, head of Texas Values and Lawyer for Mr. Hicks.

The lower court granted the plaintiff a temporary injunction which prohibited the city from providing the benefits. The court of appeals reversed. Messrs. Pidgeon and Hicks petitioned the Texas Supreme Court for review. In a two to one decision the Court refused to hear the case.

Judge Devine (presumably wishing that he were Divine) dissented (see below for full text):
Consider the State’s interest in encouraging procreation. The State may well have believed that offering certain benefits to opposite-sex couples would encourage procreation within marriage.
At times, the State may rely on one characteristic—such as the opposite-sex nature of a marriage—as a proxy for other abilities—such as procreation within marriage—that relate to the State’s interests.
And that only opposite-sex couples may procreate justifies limiting government incentives and security for childbearing to spouses of the opposite sex from the City’s employees.
Here, insofar as the Texas law allocates benefits that were granted to encourage procreation within a family, the law clearly has a legitimate sweep. The constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, struck down in United States v. Windsor, is irrelevant.
Devine apparently decided to run for Supreme Court justice because he felt he could defeat the incumbent in the primary because Justice David Medina had a Mexican name. No, seriously.

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