Judge Throws Out 6-Year Lawsuit Against Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses of City Employees

A state district judge has dismissed a lawsuit to stop the City of Houston from offering benefits to the same-sex spouses of its employees.

“This is a victory for equality, the law of our nation and human rights,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “I thank our Legal Department for its diligent work defending common sense and fairness, and I’m glad we get to continue the policy established by the city 6 years ago.”

The lawsuit, Pidgeon v Turner, was filed in 2013, two years before the U.S Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

The two Houston men who had sued the city continued with their case after the Supreme Court ruling, saying the legalization of same-sex marriage did not mean the City could offer health insurance and other benefits to its workers’ same-sex partners.

After the lawsuit had wound through the Texas Supreme Court and federal court, it returned to the Houston court of state District Judge Sonya L. Heath, who threw out the lawsuit Feb. 18 after considering written arguments from the plaintiffs and the City.