Judge Stops Houston’s Lesbian Mayor From Providing Benefits To Same-Sex Partners

Nearly a month ago, I reported that Houston’s lesbian Mayor, Annise Parker, a Democrat of course, had defied Texas state law and declared that she was extending benefits to employees and their same-sex spouses that had been legally married in others states that allowed for same-sex marriages.  Like President Obama’s example of bypassing Congress and just making law himself, Parker made her edict without going to the city council first.

Not only does the Texas State Constitution define marriage as the union between one man and one woman, but in 2001, Houston voters defeated an initiative to extend benefits to same-sex partners of city employees.

Johnathan Saenz, President of Texas Values criticized Parker’s actions at the time saying:

“It’s outrageous that Mayor Parker and the City of Houston think they have the authority to rewrite the Texas Constitution on marriage and blatantly ignore their citizen approved city charter. Mayor Parker’s self-serving efforts to force city staff to willfully violate the Texas Constitution is one of the most dangerous and egregious forms of a Washington-style power grab I have ever seen. She’s practically telling Governor Perry, Attorney General Abbott and the people of Texas to ‘Come and Take It’.”

Within days of Parker’s action, a number of groups filed a complaint against Parker, accusing her of:

“…unilaterally dispos[ing] of the Houston City Charter and the Texas Constitution without anything even resembling democratic process.”

Among those filing the complaint was Jared Woodfill, Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party.  In commenting about the mayor’s actions, Woodfill said:

“If that is what Mayor Parker thinks of law and order, how can she effectively serve as the chief executive officer of a large municipality, whose first duty is to ensure law and order?”

Speaking about the case, Woodfill added:

“[If the city loses] the rule of law, we give in to mob rule and crony politics, aptly described once as the ‘Chicago way.’”

“Houston deserves better. Harris County deserves better. Parker does not have the authority to preempt Texas law to promote her own agenda. The rule of law is what makes freedom possible. We give an inch, and the power-hungry among us will take a mile. Today, we protect more than marriage – we protect freedom for all Texans and Americans.”

Parker argued her case before the court saying that Houston’s Charter Amendment defining marriage and specifically stating that benefits cannot be offered to same-sex couples can be ignored in her opinion.  She believes them to be unconstitutional, so therefore she does not have to abide by them even though they are the current law of the state.

Last week, Houston Judge Lisa Millard issued a temporary restraining order to stop Parker’s edict from being enforced.  In her ruling, Millard said that imminent and irreparable damage would be incurred by the plaintiffs without the restraining order.  She wrote:

“If the temporary injunction is not issued, the defendants’ unlawful policy providing benefits to same-sex spouses of employees that have been married in jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage providing benefits to same sex couples will remain in place; therefore, the harm to plaintiffs ‘constitutional and statutory rights is imminent.”

Dave Welch, President of the US Pastor’s Council, was also one of the parties that filed the complaint against Parker.  Welch was in attendance at the hearing and commented:

“Mayor Parker has again shown that those who reject the existence of a moral law undergirding civil law have no reservations about running roughshod over such mundane items as state constitutions, city charters and the basic rule of law.”

“[Parker’s] unilateral act of recognizing same-sex marriages from other states and extending employee benefits to those ‘spouses’ follows the same path of anarchy as her good friend Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco who likewise defied state law.”

January 6, 2014 will be the next court hearing on the complaints filed against Mayor Parker for her illegal action.  My hopes are that the court strikes down her edict to extend benefits to the same-sex partners of Houston employees and that she is removed from office, severely fined or jailed for her violation of the state constitution and city charter.  It’s time politicians are shown that they just can’t violate laws, charters and constitutions because they don’t like them.