HOUSTON: Lambda Legal Sues City Over Same-Sex Spousal Benefits

In late November, openly gay Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced that city employees who are legally married in other states were now eligible for spousal benefits. Three weeks later a judge suspended Parker’s edict pending the outcome of a lawsuit brought by local Christian leaders. Yesterday Lambda Legal sued the city in order to reinstate the benefits ordered by Parker.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on behalf three City of Houston employees legally married to same-sex spouses and follows notification these employees received recently that the City, one month after extending the employee coverage fortheir spouses, was being forced to withdraw these benefits and cancel the coverage. “City employees who are married to same-sex spouses are doing the same work as coworkers who are married to different-sex spouses—at the end of the day this case is about equal pay for equal work.These employees, some who have worked for the City for manyyears, acted in good faith when notified the City was extending health coverage benefits to their legal spouses,” said Kenneth Upton, Senior Counsel in Lambda Legal’s South Central Regional Office in Dallas.