Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas Supreme Court to hear gay marriage case; tens of thousands of Texans take part in women's marches; facing societal issues through dance; and more.
Nearly 19 months after same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S., the Texas Supreme Court has decided to hear a Houston case that would challenge the landmark ruling. Starting March 1, the court will hear arguments in a lawsuit seeking to halt same-sex spousal benefits that Houston offers its municipal employees. “The court had previously declined to take up the case with only one justice dissenting, letting stand a lower court decision that upheld benefits for same-sex couples,” The Texas Tribune reports.
But Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a subsequent brief saying that the case could serve as a platform to help Texas restrict the scope of the high court decision, The Associated Press reports. Before the reversal Friday, briefs were signed by dozens of other state elected officials, conservative activists and religious leaders who asked the state Supreme Court to defend religious liberty and take a stand on social issues. Texas isn't the first conservative state to attempt to defy the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage, but past attempts haven't succeeded. [The Associated Press, The Texas Tribune]
- Tens of thousands of Texans took part in women's marches across the state Saturday. Sixteen Texas cities hosted “sister marches” in solidarity with the main Women’s March in Washington D.C. The marches followed protests and counter-protests that erupted around Texas Friday during President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The Texas Tribune reports: “In Dallas, thousands of North Texans (3,000 according to Dallas police, and more than 7,000 according to organizers) gathered at City Hall and marched through downtown, Deep Ellum and East Dallas. Many took aim at the new president, his election rhetoric and his cabinet picks.” [The Texas Tribune]
- In 2016, Texas hit a two-decade low for executions. It was also the first year since 2001 where Texas didn’t lead the nation in executions. What’s leading to these lower numbers, and what does this mean for the death penalty in Texas going forward? The Texas Station Collaborative and Texas Standard will explore this in a five-part series, “State of Execution,” starting today. The series will look at the death penalty’s past and present, including inmate care, how the sentencing conversation has changed, and what the future might bring. Why talk about this now? Texas is scheduled to execute two men this week. To hear these stories, listen to KERA at 6:20 p.m all this week. [Texas Station Collaborative]
- Former President George H.W. Bush is recovering from a bout with pneumonia that has kept him in the hospital for over a week. His wife Barbara Bush, who is on the mend from bronchitis, stayed one more night Sunday at Houston Methodist Hospital to be “closer to her husband,” said Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath. She was admitted to the hospital Wednesday after experiencing fatigue and coughing. Doctors on Wednesday inserted a breathing tube, and a ventilator was employed to assist the 41st president’s breathing, The Associated Press reports. The tube was removed Friday. His vital signs are normal and doctors hope he can be moved out of intensive care in the next day or two. [The Associated Press]
- Dallas choreographer Danielle Georgiou tackles societal issues through dance. Choreographer is just one of many hats Georgiou wears. She’s an educator, dancer, writer and the program coordinator for dance at Eastfield College. Georgiou also created Danielle Georgiou Dance Group in 2011. The company's known for bold and often provocative work about feminism, gender, sexuality and culture. “[Dallas] wants to see something that it’s never seen before, which I think is really exciting for an artist like myself who’s working in a medium that isn’t seen much in Texas.” Get to know Georgiou and see her work in the latest Artist Spotlight. [Art&Seek]