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Ratcheting up pressure on the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court, Gov. Greg Abbott and other leading GOP officials Friday urged the court to revive efforts to abolish employee benefits the city of Houston provides to married same-sex couples.
The case has become a rallying point for the state’s social conservatives, with the stakes growing larger now that Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Attorney General Ken Paxton have weighed in — telling the court that the Houston lawsuit provides an opportunity to limit the impact of last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage.
“This court should take this opportunity to remind the lower courts that all disputes involving the right to same-sex marriage have not been resolved,” Abbott, Patrick and Paxton said in a friend-of-the-court brief.
The Houston case presents a particular challenge for a court that strives to appear above politics while its justices are forced to run every six years as members of a particular political party.
Opponents of same-sex marriage have peppered the court with dozens of emails asking justices to strike down the Houston benefits or face a voter backlash in future Republican primaries. The barrage makes it clear that some GOP voters view the case as a litmus test for party loyalty and adherence to Christian values.