The Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case that seeks to ban Houston from using taxpayer dollars to pay for same-sex couples' benefits for its city employees.
Opponents argue the nationwide right for same-sex couples to marry does not extend to spousal benefits. The court's decision only affects Houston city employees, but could have widespread implications for gay marriage.
“I think the court made it very clear that a federal district court's decision is not binding on state courts, and I think that was conceded on the other side,” says attorney Jared Woodfiil.
Dave Welch at the Houston Area Pastor Council attended the proceedings in Austin, and says he came away confident the state's high court will strike down former Mayor Annise Parker's policy.
“The case we made was clear to the justices that this was a matter of the rule of existing law at the time that Annise Parker acted, and she clearly violated existing state and federal law, or city charter,” he says.
“The chief justice in particular challenged the city's attorney on his claim about a federal injunction that essentially did not exist at the time of the act, which was pointed out very clearly and left the city attorney very confused.”