The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) challenge to California’s ban on state-funded business trips to Texas and other states deemed to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
California adopted the ban following a 2017 Texas law that allows foster care and adoption agencies to deny services for religious beliefs. In 2017, then-California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said, “Discriminatory laws in any part of our country send all of us several steps back. That’s why when California said we would not tolerate discrimination against LGBTQ members of our community, we meant it.”
Paxton denounced the California law as “inappropriate and quite possibly unconstitutional” in his lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court late early last year. Calling it an effort “to punish Texans for respecting the right of conscience for foster care and adoption providers,” Paxton has since listed religious liberty as a top legislative priority. Nineteen states have filed briefs in support of Texas.
The court’s announcement that it would refuse to hear Paxton’s challenge was accompanied by a 10-page dissent by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas who claimed they would have heard it and argued that it left Texas “without any judicial forum.”
The rejection comes as a slew of anti-LGBTQ bills are working their way through the Texas Legislature. The legislation has been received with significant pushback. Business leaders have warned that discriminatory legislation would likely harm tourism and business. Other corporations and organizations have similarly condemned the attempts to undermine LGTBQ rights. In recent weeks, the NCAA announced that it would not host championship events in states that have transgender bans on youth sports.