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An enduring battle for same-sex couples: equal treatment under law

It might be reasonably argued that, while same-sex couples are consistently winning many key legal battles across the country, they haven’t yet won the war.

We proudly represent a diverse family law clientele at the Law Offices of Lisa A. Ruggieri in Wellesley. In doing so, we note “the legal challenges and difficulties that gay, lesbian and non-traditional families face today.”

Those are recurring and often formidable.

A Texas-based matter starkly underscores that fact. We pass along the summary details of its judicially linked journey for readers, given its potentially national implications.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an important ruling in 2015, holding that same-sex couples have the same right as heterosexual couples to marry, and that violating that right unlawfully denies equal protection under the U.S. Constitution.

A Texas lawsuit challenged that notion when claimants contended that the city of Houston acted unlawfully in granting employed same-sex couples spousal insurance benefits. That state’s highest court ruled that a same-sex marriage did not automatically confer such a right.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to overturn that ruling last week, which surprises many commentators, given its 2015 decision.

A spokesman for one gay-marriage critic called the court’s ruling “an incredible early Christmas present.”

Another commentator notes, though, that the nation’s highest court is likely simply holding off a formally reasoned decision until the Texas matter is fully decided and it has a specific case to consider (the matter has now been remanded to a Houston federal district court).

Although same-sex rights in family law matters have clearly gained strong traction in recent years, it is just as clear that they are continually challenged and must be forcefully promoted to ensure true equality under the law.

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