David Yates Jul. 22, 2015, 11:20am


In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage, a gay couple has dismissed their suit against the state of Texas for denying health care coverage.

Through Lambda Legal, Deborah Leliaert and Paula Woolworth filed suit against the board of trustees for the Employee Retirement System of Texas on June 11 in the U.S. District Court for Western Texas, Austin Division.

On June 26 the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, legalized gay marriage nationwide. The high court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which was consolidated with several other similar cases, found that state bans on same-sex marriage violated both the due process and equal protection rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Leliaert, a University of North Texas administrator, had alleged ERS violated the U.S. Constitution by denying spousal health insurance coverage for her same-sex wife, Woolworth.

Leliaert has been an employee of the University of North Texas in Denton for nearly 24 years. Woolworth is retired. They married in California in 2008.

According to the lawsuit, at the time of Woolworth’s retirement, Leiaert was informed by UNT’s Human Resources Department that Woolworth was ineligible for spousal health insurance coverage due to Texas’ marriage restrictions.

Leliaert tried to enroll Woolworth for coverage after a U.S. district court struck down the state’s marriage bans in 2014, but ERS denied her coverage, prompting the lawsuit.

Court records show that on July 1 the couple filed a notice of dismissal, stating the case is now moot in light of the high court’s ruling.

The case was officially dismissed by court order on July 7, court records show.

Lambda Legal, a national organization, represents the rights of the gay community through impact litigation.

Case No. 1:15-cv-00506

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