Scholars File Amici Brief on Same-Sex Marriage Case in Texas
On February 28, 2017, our former Research Director Gary J. Gates, current Research Director Kerith J. Conron, and Policy Analyst Taylor N.T. Brown filed a “friend of the court” brief with the Texas Supreme Court in Pidgeon v. City of Houston, a case concerning equal benefits for same-sex married couples in Texas. Adam P. Romero, Senior Counsel at the Williams Institute, and attorneys from the law firm McKool Smith served as counsel. In Pidgeon, individuals and lawmakers in Texas who are opposed to same-sex marriage (“Petitioners”) are suing the City of Houston, seeking to prevent Houston from providing equal employment benefits to married same-sex couples. Petitioners argue that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which granted same-sex couples’ the right to marry nationwide, should be narrowly construed to only require that states license and recognize same-sex marriages and to not require that same-sex marriages be treated equal to different-sex marriages in terms of state-granted benefits.
In their amici brief, the Williams Institute scholars provide the Texas Supreme Court with data on same-sex couples and their families in Texas and the United States, to provide the Court with a fuller picture of those who will be most directly impacted by the Court’s decision. Among other findings and research discussed in the brief, the data show that there are an estimated 83,000 same-sex couples all across Texas, and that approximately 35,000 of these couples were married as of 2015. An estimated 18,000 same-sex households – including more than one-in-four married same-sex couples – are raising more than 28,000 children under age 18 in Texas. Same-sex couples, particularly married same-sex couples, are more likely to be raising adopted and foster children than their different-sex married counterparts. The data also show that same-sex couples raising children are more economically vulnerable than their different-sex married counterparts, and that the economic benefits related to marriage are evident among same-sex couples in ways that are similar to their different-sex counterparts.
Read the brief.