AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has issued an opinion stating that local governments and school districts that offer marriage benefits to same-sex partners are violating the state constitution.
Tea party-backed state Sen. Dan Patrick sought the ruling in November. The Houston Republican argued that Texas amended its constitution in 2005 to define marriage as between one man and one woman, while prohibiting government entities from recognizing anything similar to marriage.
The cities of El Paso, Austin and Fort Worth have offered some benefits to domestic partners. Pflugerville, outside Austin, became the state's first school district to extend similar benefits.
Patrick said in a statement that Monday's opinion ensures local communities and school districts "cannot subvert the will of Texans."
A City of Austin spokes person reacted saying, "City of Austin staff will be reviewing the opinion in order to brief the Council on its potential implications, impact or consequences. As a large employer, the City of Austin intends to uphold our commitment to attracting and maintaining quality employees. It is our belief that part of being a Best Managed city includes respecting diversity and inclusion"
A spokeswoman for Pflugerville Independent School had no comment.
Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns released this statement in regards to Abbott’s opinion on municipal domestic partnership benefits:
"I am disappointed in Greg Abbott. However, I am not surprised that once again he is more interested in dividing Texans for political gain than bringing them together to make Texas stronger and more prosperous. He continues to pursue faulty legal strategies and disrespect local control at the expense of taxpayers. Here in Fort Worth, we value every citizen which makes every family stronger."