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Houston Newsmakers July 16: Texas marriage equality likely headed to U.S. Supreme Court

World Corporate Games and Lighthouse of Houston

HOUSTON – Benefits for same-sex couples in Texas will ultimately be decided at the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a Houston attorney.

That’s the opinion of Jared Woodfill, the attorney representing two Houston tax payers who objected to the city using tax money for the benefits of same-sex couples.

The Texas Supreme court recently agreed, and Woodfill told Khambrel Marshall on Houston Newsmakers that the U.S. Supreme Court decision only says same-sex couples are entitled to marriage certificate and nothing beyond.

“Our case specifically talks about benefits,” Woodfill said. “There’s never been a fundamental right to benefits. Governments distinguish on benefits all the time.”

More insight from Woodfill on the next steps and on the upcoming special session in Austin where several conservative issues are likely to come up for votes.

ALSO

Calling all Houston-area companies to take part in the World Corporate Games to be held in Houston in November.

Janis Schmees Burke, CEO of the Harris County Houston Sports Authority, said Houston is a great place to host the games, which are now making a comeback after an almost 30-year absence.

“We’ll have between 7,000 and 10,000 people, what the World Games Usually draws,” Schmees Burke said. “There’s a parade, street party. We shut down the streets, and the mayor’s very involved. It’s going to be a really fun time.”

There will be 18 sports in which entrants can compete, from cycling to golf, table tennis and many more.

Early bird registration, which provides a discounted entry fee, ends July 31. Proceeds go toward UNICEF.

AND

The Lighthouse of Houston is the nonprofit agency working to support thousands of visually impaired and blind men, women and children in the Houston region. Gib Duterroil is the CEO and said they serve the vocational and educational needs of thousands.

“It’s a full gamut of activity for individuals in this community who are blind or visually impaired,” he said.

Butch Alsindor is a member of the board of directors, but started as a volunteer and discovered very early what an asset the Lighthouse of Houston is.

“The Lighthouse isn’t about giving a handout, it’s about giving a hand up,” he said. “They provide so many skills to their clients to help them function in this world.”

Watch Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall every Sunday at 10 a.m. right after Meet the Press.

• Jared Woodfill, attorney; 713-751-3080, www.woodfilllaw.com  Twitter: @Woodfill

•  Janis Schmees Burke, CEO Harris County Sports Authority; 713-308-5900, Corporate Games address: www.wcghouston.com. Twitter: @HCHSA

•  Gib Duterroil, CEO, Lighthouse of Houston, 713-527-9561 www.houstonlighthouse.org  Twitter: @HouLighthouse

•  Butch Alsindor, Volunteer & Board Member, Lighthouse of Houston, 713-527-9561, www.houstonlighthouse.org