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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

Woodfill is still pursuing his anti-same-sex benefits lawsuit

From the inbox and the febrile mind of Jared Woodfill: Last year Houston Judge Lisa Millard granted a temporary injunction and ordered Houston Mayor Annise Parker and the City of Houston to immediately stop recognizing same-sex ‘marriages’ and stop providing benefits to the same-sex couples married in other states. Judge Millard stated, “This court does […]

State wants birth certificate lawsuit dropped

I don’t know about that. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday asked a federal district judge to dismiss a lawsuit that claims a state agency violated the U.S. Constitution by denying birth certificates to U.S.-citizen children of immigrant parents. Attorneys with Paxton’s office said that the Texas Department of State Health Services, which is […]

Paxton concedes FMLA lawsuit

Excellent. Almost a month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton quietly conceded a case against the federal government over medical leave benefits for certain same-sex couples. Paxton and the attorneys general of Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Nebraska filed a voluntary dismissal on Friday with […]

We don’t want to share marriage with those icky gay people

Ed Kilgore detects a new trend. Now that the Christian Right has been reduced to the sputtering defiance of Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal or to the sullen silence of many others, one can hope that conservative acceptance of same-sex marriage will follow as rapidly as it did for the public as a whole. But […]

More on the state’s refusal to issue birth certificates

The Observer follows up. Two legislators have weighed in on the controversy over Texas’ refusal to grant birth certificates to some children of undocumented families. On Wednesday, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, sent a letter to Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Kirk Cole, referencing an […]

Lawsuit filed over state refusal to issue birth certificates

I’m sure this won’t be contentious at all. For nearly 150 years, the United States, under the 14th Amendment, has recognized people born here as citizens, regardless of whether their parents were citizens. But Texas has other plans. In the last year, the state has refused to issue birth certificates to children who were born […]

HBU appeals contraceptive case to SCOTUS

Here we go. Houston Baptist University on Wednesday turned to the U.S. Supreme Court in its battle to avoid providing employees with forms of contraception it finds morally objectionable. The appeal of a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling was filed on behalf of the Houston university, East Texas Baptist University and the Westminster […]

Fifth Circuit hears immigration ruling appeal

We’ll see, but as always with this court it is better to expect the worst and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Noise from hundreds of chanting immigration activists outside a federal appeals court building competed at times Friday with lawyers arguing inside over President Barack Obama’s proposal to shield an estimated 5 million people from […]

There will be more lawsuits

The lawsuit filed in Hood County to force County Clerk Katie Lang to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple won’t be the last one like it. “We hope and expect that county clerks across Texas and the country will take a look at what happened [in Hood County] and do the right […]

Prepare for your time in the spotlight, Irion County

It’s coming. No same-sex couples have sought a marriage license in Irion County, but if or when they do the county clerk is willing to fight it in court. County Clerk Molly Criner has vowed to stand for “natural marriage” and refuses to issue licenses to same-sex couples. Liberty Counsel, an international nonprofit that says […]

Paxton drops another same sex marriage appeal

Another step forward. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton plans to dismiss an appeal challenging a Travis County judge’s February ruling that found the state’s ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 decision declaring gay couples have a fundamental right to marry left no legal controversy to be decided by […]

Federal lawsuit filed in Hood County

That sound you hear is the rubber meeting the road. The motion for a temporary injunction and temporary restraining order was filed this morning in Fort Worth federal court on behalf of Soifer’s clients, Jim Cato and Joe Stapleton, who’ve been together for 27 years. The couple has been trying to get a marriage license […]

And the battle moves to Irion County

“Where the heck is Irion County?” I hear you cry. Just the home of the next County Clerk that needs to be schooled on the Constitution, and not her dime store “understanding” of it. The county clerk in tiny Irion County is standing firm on her decision to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, […]

Here come the lawyers

I don’t see how the squadron of anti-equality attorneys has a case in the wake of Obergfell, but they’re gonna try their best to muck things up anyway. Now, conservative attorneys are gearing up to defend [government employees who refuse to recognize gay marriage because of religious objections], saying they are confident existing laws will […]

Supreme Court to hear school finance appeal in September

Mark your calendars. The Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Sept. 1 in the long-running case challenging the state’s school-finance system. “We are very pleased that the court is moving so expeditiously,” attorney David Thompson, representing the Houston Independent School District, Fort Bend ISD and dozens of others, said Friday. “We think it’s a […]

Clinics consider reopening

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the decisionmaking process, that’s for sure. Abortion providers cheered a move by the U.S. Supreme Court to temporarily block part of a Texas law that would have closed more than half the state’s 19 remaining abortion clinics. Now they are studying whether it could also allow them to reopen […]

Lawsuit threatened in Hood County over clerk’s refusal to issue marriage license

I was beginning to think that none of Texas’ 254 County Clerks were going to attempt to martyr themselves in the name of their “religious freedom” to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. I shouldn’t have worried. Attorneys for a same-sex couple are preparing to sue Hood County Clerk Katie Lang after the couple […]

Now Texas is suing the EPA over its clean water plan

Another day, another anti-environmental lawsuit. It’s what we do. For the 20th time since the Obama administration took office in 2009, the federal Environmental Protection Agency is facing a lawsuit from Texas. Joined by Louisiana and Mississippi, Texas is challenging the “Waters of the U.S.” rule which the EPA finalized Monday. That rule is aimed […]

Texas throws in the towel with the Fifth Circuit

Hallelujah. The 5th Circuit should affirm a lower court ruling that overturned Texas’ long-standing ban on same-sex marriage, Scott Keller, the state’s solicitor general, wrote in a letter to the appellate court. That letter was in response to the appellate court’s request that the state and the plaintiffs advise the court on the next steps […]

Ready to engage in the next fight

No rest for the righteous. On Monday, national and state gay rights leaders and the plaintiffs who sued for marriage equality convened in front of the Texas Capitol to make a different kind of vow: The fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is not over. The next frontier, they said, is pushing for […]

SCOTUS gives polluters a win

Alas. t emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants, but it may only be a temporary setback for regulators. The justices split 5-4 along ideological lines to rule that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to take cost into account when it first decided to regulate the toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired plants. The […]

One more holdout concedes

Hood County and its outspoken County Clerk bow to the inevitable. A Texas county clerk said on Tuesday her office will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, reversing a previous decision that was based on religious objections. Some counties in other socially conservative states such as Kentucky have declined to issue such licenses since the […]

HBU contraceptive coverage decision overturned

Good. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has turned back a challenge brought by several Texas religious organizations that oppose offering insurance contraceptive coverage to their employees, concluding that the plaintiffs have no right to challenge the conduct of third parties. The recent decision also found that U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial 2014 […]

More counties issuing same sex marriage licenses

Montgomery County: Montgomery County Clerk Mark Turnbull said he turned one same-sex couple away on Friday who requested a marriage license, but wound up issuing the license after regular hours on Saturday. He initially refused because he was waiting for clarification from the state on what form to use, but after the courthouse closed Friday […]

SCOTUS puts HB2 back on hold

Good. For now, anyway. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with Texas abortion providers and temporarily put on hold a ruling that would have closed about half of the state’s abortion facilities. There were 19 abortion providers performing the procedure in Texas as of earlier this month. Abortion restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature […]

Where same sex marriage is still functionally illegal in Texas

Smith County: After a historic Supreme Court ruling, making same sex marriage legal in all fifty states, couples across the country flocked to courthouses to be legally married. Despite the ruling, an East Texas County Court will not be issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Smith County Clerk Karen Phillips said they first […]

A setback for transparency

I don’t care for this. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday limited the public’s right to know about private groups that get government funds. In a 6-3 opinion, the court sided with the Greater Houston Partnership, agreeing that GHP doesn’t have to open its check registers even though it received funds from the city of […]

Moving on to the benefits issue

And as we move on to other fights, the terrain changes. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott opened the door for state agencies to withhold benefits from same-sex couples Friday, hours after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. In a letter released Friday afternoon, Abbott ordered heads of state agencies to prioritize religious freedom, writing that […]

And we begin the next fight

It’s always going to be something. In a somber and defiant statement, Attorney General Ken Paxton proclaimed his next battlefront would be in defense of religious liberty. “The truth is that the debate over the issue of marriage has increasingly devolved into personal and economic aggression against people of faith who have sought to live […]

SCOTUS rules for marriage equality

Boom. Handing gay rights advocates a monumental victory, the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday ruled that marriages between couples of the same sex are constitutional, a decision that overrides Texas’ long-standing ban on gay marriage. In a 5-4 ruling, the high court found that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry and that states […]

That other big SCOTUS case from yesterday

Another nice surprise from the mercurial Supreme Court. A sharply divided Supreme Court on Thursday preserved a key tool used for more than four decades to fight housing discrimination, handing a surprising victory to the Obama administration and civil rights activists. The justices ruled 5-4 that federal housing law allows people to challenge lending rules, […]

Remember, don’t rush to get married in Harris County just yet

The Harris County Clerk isn’t ready for you and won’t be for at least a little while. Should the U.S. Supreme court decide to strike down same-sex marriage bans nationwide, a decision that could come as soon as Thursday, county clerks in all but one of Texas’ biggest counties are ready to begin issuing marriage […]

Abbott would like to restore the uninsured rate

It’s what he does. Greg Abbott on Monday urged his fellow Republicans not to “rescue” President Barack Obama’s signature health care law if it is torpedoed by the U.S. Supreme Court, an unusually public stance that could make the first-term Texas governor a leading voice on a national issue dividing the GOP. Abbott’s position, announced […]

No response necessary

Unless it’s “We will respect and fully comply with the court’s ruling”. The U.S. Supreme Court could decide as early as this week whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. For supporters of same-sex marriage, it’s an emotional waiting game. “People are literally on pins and needles,” said Chuck Smith, executive director of […]