In that case, the court said it reversed the ruling because the "differential treatment infringes Obergefell " s commitment to provide same-sex couples "the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage.'" The court also decided they would take up a case involving whether a Colorado baker can legally refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because of religious objections.
According to The Texas Tribune, the case is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage and required governmental departments to allocate benefits to same-sex spouses of governmental employees.
The plaintiffs contended that Houston's benefits policy goes further than the Obergefell decision requires.
The unanimous opinion sends the case challenging the Houston's provision of benefits back to trial court but does not prevent the city from continuing to offer employment benefits to same-sex spouses.
"The Texas Supreme Court's decision this morning is a warning shot to all LGBTQ Americans that the war on marriage equality is ever-evolving", said GLAAD's Sarah Kate Ellis.
Woodfill said he intends to ask for another injunction preventing the city from providing same-sex benefits and requiring Houston to "claw back" benefits paid to employees' same-sex spouses before Obergefell.
By delaying this case, the justices on the Texas Supreme Court leave open the possibility that, by the time the case reaches them again, Donald Trump will have added one or two more Neil Gorsuches to the Supreme Court. In Pavan, the court clarified that all rights associated with marriage-not just marriage licensing itself-must be afforded to same-sex couples.
Gay rights groups denounced the ruling as an "absurd distortion" of established law regarding marriage equality.
"Equality Texas is hopeful that the City of Houston will appeal this horrendous decision to the United States Supreme Court in order to ensure equality for the marriages of all Texans". That indicates that not only do same-sex couples have the right to marry, but a right to the benefits that flow from marriage, especially to protect children of same-sex couples who are married.
"This absurd contortion of the Obergefell ruling defies all logic and reason", said Kenneth Upton, senior counsel in LGBT rights legal group Lambda Legal's Dallas office.
"Anti-LGBTQ activists will do anything possible to discriminate against our families". The court agreed to hear it after coming under intense pressure from Gov. Greg Abbott and the state's other top Republican politicians.