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Jared Woodfill sues again

Dude is obsessed.


Former Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill isn’t giving up on his fight to block the city of Houston from providing benefits to the same-sex spouses of employees.

After Mayor Annise Parker extended benefits to same-sex spouses last year, Woodfill sued on behalf of two Republican taxpayers seeking to halt them. But in August, a federal judge ordered the city to continue offering the benefits pending a final determination on the constitutionality of Texas’ same-sex marriage ban, likely to come from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Despite the federal judge’s order, Woodfill filed a second lawsuit last week asking a state family court judge to halt same-sex benefits in Houston. Ken Upton, a senior staff attorney at Lambda Legal who represents city employees and their spouses who receive the benefits, said Woodfill’s request goes against a basic principle of law.

“The US Constitution’s Supremacy Clause clearly provides that a decision based on federal law trumps a conflicting decision based on only state law,” Upton said. “This is a foundational principle that every first-year law student learns and is beyond question or doubt.”

Upton said it’s possible Woodfill wasn’t aware of the federal judge’s order preserving same-sex benefits in Houston. But he added, “It’s no secret.”

“He [Woodfill] knew our case had been filed,” Upton said. “You would think he would have checked its status.”

Lambda Legal filed its lawsuit, Freeman v. Parker, in federal court last December on behalf of the employees and their spouses, arguing that rescinding same-sex benefits would violate their right to equal protection under the US Constitution.

Earlier that month, State District Family Court Judge Lisa Millard issued a temporary restraining order halting the benefits in response to Woodfill’s lawsuit, Pidgeon v. Parker. However, the temporary restraining order expired after the city removed the lawsuit to federal court.

A federal judge later sent Pidgeon v. Parker back to state court, where it was dismissed in May “for want of prosecution,” according to Harris County district court records.

Now, Woodfill is asking Millard, a Republican, to issue a second order halting the benefits, which he again claims violate Texas’ same-sex marriage bans and a city charter amendment prohibiting domestic partner benefits.

A hearing on Woodfill’s request for a temporary restraining order is set for 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5 in Millard’s 310th District Family Court. The new lawsuit is also called Pidgeon v. Parker.

See here for some background, and click over to Lone Star Q to see a copy of this latest lawsuit. I don’t have anything to add except I hope this winds up costing Woodfill a ton in court costs.

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