EDITORIAL: Being married but not reaping benefits
Texas is attempting to infringe on same-sex marriage rights
Last week, the LGBTQIA community was in shock over the blatant disregard of their rights by President Donald J. Trump and his administration when they decided to remove the federal protections for transgender people who want to use bathroom facilities that correspond with their gender identity. A majority of the Democratic Party, as well as some members of the Republican Party, voiced their anger over this decision by the Trump administration. And now, it seems as though the dust has barely even begun to settle before the nation began to chip away at LGBTQIA rights again.
Texas, which has been a hub of controversy regarding its political climate for the past year, seems to be one of the forces aiding in the breaking down of these rights.
In 2013, conservative groups in Texas wanted to sue the city of Houston for offering municipal employee benefits to same-sex couples. Originally, a year later, the Supreme Court denied the court from even hearing the appeal. However, after consistent pressure from elected officials and church leaders, the Supreme Court has now decided to open up the table for conversation about possibly changing these laws. A basis for the debate surrounded the monumental case Obergefell v. Hodges. This ruling, which legalized same-sex marriage within all 50 of the United States, was used as a reference point because Republican Party members said that it never gave any specifications about requiring the government to offer same-sex couples the same benefits for employees that are offered to straight couples. The main underlying issue here? These benefits are funded by taxpayer’s money.
The Supreme Court is not scheduled to present its decision for another few months, and in that time, the groups who are suing Houston plan on advocating for religious liberty and also eventually finding ways to diminish the foundation of Obergefell v. Hodges. They plan to do this by reverting the decision of same-sex marriage back to being up to each individual state. This would essentially do the same thing and ban same-sex marriage since a 2005 state ban on same-sex marriage illustrated Texas’s negative feelings towards the subject. This even allowed county clerks who felt as though their religious values were being compromised by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples could refuse to do so. After this, Republicans of Texas also plan on attempting to reverse some of the rejections the Supreme Court had on abortion restrictions that the state had.
It is probably most important to point out that as a Republican state, and a previous ban that proves that most of these Republicans were against same-sex marriage, Texas holds those who identify with the LGBTQIA community as a minority. And when a majority of the state is left to determine the rights of the minority, there is a lack of justice at play.
Although Obergefell v. Hodges did not specify rulings on such benefits, the approval of same-sex marriage throughout the United States was not just for the sake of being able to say that you are “married.” It is not about the title, it is about the recognition of someone’s love in the public eye. Texas is doing the opposite of this and asserting that same-sex marriage may be okay for now, but receiving the same benefits that straight couples get should be left up to the discretion of the state. This is not why same-sex marriage was legalized. In fact, it defeats everything the Obergefell v. Hodges case fought and won to protect.
It seems as though Texas is heavily attempting to mandate every detail of their citizens’ lives and the Supreme Court should do everything in its power to block this.
The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 149th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.