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Gay Rights Group Sues Over Same-Sex Benefits

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File photo of a gavel. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

File photo of a gavel. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (AP) — A gay rights group has filed a federal lawsuit meant to preserve Houston’s extension of benefits to legally married same-sex spouses of city employees.

New York-based Lambda Legal filed the suit Thursday on behalf of three municipal workers to maintain the extension of health and life insurance benefits. Lambda’s Kenneth Upton says “this case is about equal pay for equal work.”

Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who is gay, announced the expanded coverage last month. The action flouts an opinion issued in April by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott that said local governments and school districts that offer same-sex domestic partner benefits are violating the state constitution.

A state district judge has since imposed a temporary order that halts Houston’s same-sex coverage. The policy will be the focus of a court hearing scheduled for Jan. 6.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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