The case of Pidgeon v. Parker, in which Republicans sued the City of Houston over a new policy granting full spousal benefits to all legally married couples with a member working for the municipality (read: same-sex couples), has seen its temporary restraining order blocking the enforcement of the policy lifted. Last month, a Family District Judge granted the order, but the case was recently moved to Federal Court.
Now, the Houston Chronicle reports that Judge Lee Rosenthal (a Bush 41 appointee) has lifted that order, at least for the time being. While the Family Judge’s (Lisa Millard) ruling indicated there to be a high likelihood of the plaintiffs prevailing on the merits, Judge Rosenthal’s decision simply means the case will go on and may very well have a trial. Jared Woodfill, the Chairman of the Harris County GOP and the plaintiff’s attorney, was quick to play this difference as somewhat insignificant in the long run:
“Judge Millard’s position was that the Mayor’s actions were illegal and unlawful and she immediately restrained the Mayor from going forward. This judge has not decided whether the Mayor’s actions were illegal, so she gave us more time to do additional briefing,” Woodfill said.
The plaintiffs will also seek to move the case back to State Court, but Judge Rosenthal would have to sign off on this. Federal Judges are generally busy, so I get the feeling that because a Judge has already spent a day of her time on this issue, it would be somewhat silly to punt it back to someone else.
The other news on this issue goes back to the mudslinging occurring in the race for Harris County GOP Chairman. This is significant, because, like or not
complacent lazy Democrats, the Republicans still control this county with a very firm grip and that is not changing any time soon. The Chairman, Jared Woodfill, is fighting a challenge from attorney Paul Simpson.
Big Jolly Politics has been covering this race for a while, and recently reported that Woodfill’s campaign made rather unsubstantiated attacks against his opponent. Specifically, Woodfill supporter Gary Polland heavily insinuated that Simpson was supportive of the full spousal benefits policy. This was an utter falsehood, and Big Jolly printed the open letter Simpson sent to that effect. Besides David’s rather intermittent ad hominem attacks against Charles Kuffner and me, the blog is a good source for gossip in Republican politics.