Late last month Lambda Legal filed suit against the city of Houston and Mayor Annise Parker in order to force the reinstatement of the same-sex partner benefits ordered by Parker. Some folks are apparently confused by that action so yesterday Lambda posted an explanation.
Some have asked why we would sue the Mayor and the City, when they have taken the correct position and done the right thing. The law is peculiar that way. The Mayor and the City face the threat that antigay activists will obtain a court order forcing employees to lose valuable benefits – employees who are not even part of that lawsuit. The best counter punch in this situation is for those employees – real people who also pay taxes and stand to be harmed by the antigay taxpayers’ conduct – to seek an order against the Mayor and the City to order them not to do that. To be sure, we stand with the Mayor’s decision. If a court were to order her to terminate spousal coverage from lesbian and gay City employees—while leaving family coverage intact for non-gay City employees with a legally recognized spouse—she would deny lesbian and gay employees, such as our clients, equal compensation for equal work and discriminatorily inflict upon each of them and their spouses anxiety, stress, risk of untreated or inadequately treated health problems, and potentially ruinous financial burdens. The Mayor knows this is wrong, both legally and morally, and we seek a court order that will reinforce her and the City’s decision to do the right thing and insulate them from other inconsistent orders. In other words, we are suing the mayor in order to compel her to do that which she wants to do. Counterintuitive, we know, but we are confident that this is what the mayor would want.
I wasn’t confused, were you? (Tipped by JMG reader Joe)