This surprising piece of news came from the Houston Chronicle late yesterday…
Harris County Republicans, led by the county’s GOP chairman, sued the City of Houston Tuesday over Mayor Annise Parker’s extension of health and life insurance benefits to all spouses of legally married employees, including same-sex couples in November.
“This is one of the most egregious acts by an elected official I’ve ever seen,” said Jared Woodfill, chairman the Harris County Republican party. Woodfill, is the lead lawyer on the lawsuit. “They just decided to, unilaterally, as a lame duck, thumb their nose at the will of the people and just spit on the U.S. Constitution.”
Woodfill said state District Judge Lisa Millard signed a temporary restraining order late Tuesday, putting the new policy on hold until the matter goes before a judge on Jan. 6.
The lawsuit, filed late Tuesday in state District court, alleges that the mechanism that Parker used to enact benefits for same-sex couples violates the Houston’s city charter, the state Defense of Marriage Act and the Texas Constitution.
Attorneys for the city said the lawsuit will likely be thrown out because the two men who filed it do not appear to have legal standing.
Lest we forget, this is Houston we’re talking about. In Texas? Sure… but we happen to be the 4th largest city in the United States, and in the 3rd largest County. Yet by filing this suit, the Harris County Republican Party… an organization which has openly LGBT members, have proven themselves to be nothing more than a bunch of anti-gay, back-water bigots. Heading into the 2014 elections, HCRP has decided to put their stamp firmly against LGBT equality.
Besides the shock factor, there’s another salient point to make. As Texpatriate points out, there is a rather unsightly problem with this particular ruling. For those that may not be aware, judges in the state of Texas are not only elected, but they are allowed to run with a partisan affiliation. Judge Millard is not only an assumed Conservative, but she is a card-carrying member of the Harris County Republican Party, having both donated to the organization and received support from them as well. Given that HCRP originated the lawsuit, is she doing the party’s bidding by ruling in their favor? I’m no legal scholar, but this alone seems to present a problem for Jared Woodfill and the County GOP. And by problem, I mean a likely countersuit.
Brains and Eggs has more on this ridiculous move.