The Texas Supreme Court is hearing a case that top Republicans hope can lead to an overturning of legalised same-sex marriage nationwide.
Opponents are suing the city of Houston over its decision to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of city employees.
Conservative lawyers argue that the 2015 decision by the US Supreme Court in Washington, Obergefell v Hodges, does not contain language specifically extending benefits to gay spouses.
“Obergefell may require states to license and recognize same-sex marriages, but that does not require states to give taxpayer subsidies to same-sex couples,” lawyers challenging Houston policy wrote in a court filing.
Houston officials say that the case is a matter of settled law and shouldn’t have anything to do with advancing social conservative causes.
An attorney defending the Houston measure said in opening arguments that all marriages should be treated equally.
“If you extend spousal benefits to opposite sex couples, then under Obergefell you also have to extend it to same-sex [couples.] Not because there’s a fundamental right to employment benefits, or spousal benefits, but because there’s a fundamental right that both of those marriages be treated equally,” said Douglas Alexander on behalf of Houston.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement Wednesday that the city “is confident that the Texas Supreme Court will follow its practice of requiring strict compliance with decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The court is expected to issue a decision by the end of June.