The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear Houston's appeal of a lower court ruling that threw into doubt the city's spousal benefits to gay married municipal employees, signaling that the reach of the landmark 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide may have limits.
The justices left intact a June ruling by the Republican-dominated Texas Supreme Court that revived a lawsuit backed by a conservative group that advocates "biblical, Judeo-Christian values" aimed at blocking Houston from offering such benefits.
The high court's action set no nationwide legal precedent but it still may give a boost to conservative efforts to limit the effects of its decision in the case Obergefell v. Hodges that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to gay couples under the U.S. Constitution. The case will now proceed in a Texas state court.
(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Will Dunham)