The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Texas’ case against California’s ban on state-funded businesses trips to Texas and several others states due to LGBT discrimination laws on Monday.
In 2019, California instituted taxpayer-funded travel bans to Texas and 10 other states due to those states breaking AB 1887, a law passed in 2015 that has the state “avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.” Texas was added primarily because of a 2017 law passed in Austin that allows foster care and adoption agencies to deny services for religious beliefs.
Texas immediately said that the California law was akin to “economic warfare” and was an effort to “punish Texans for respecting the right of conscience for foster care and adoption providers.”
“The law California opposes does not prevent anyone from contributing to child welfare,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in 2019. “Boycotting states based on nothing more than political disagreement breaks down the ability of states to serve as laboratories of democracy while still working together as one nation — the very thing our Constitution intended to prevent.”
However, California immediately defended it’s action, with then-California Attorney General and current Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra saying that “California has chosen not to use taxpayer money to support laws discriminating against the LGBTQ community. 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.”
With neither state budging, and other states beginning to fight back by instituting similar bans against California, Texas took the issue a step further in February 2020 by bringing the case directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the State of Texas v. State of California lawsuit, Texas argued that the California law is unconstitutional due to private, faith-based foster and adoption agencies using their religious beliefs in their policies, not publicly funded organizations. Despite the lawsuit, California stuck with the decision, noting that California spending taxpayer money in Texas would non-directly be supporting those laws.
Supreme Court turns down lawsuit
Due to COVID-19 and a smaller number of Supreme Court cases being heard in 2020, the case had been delayed for possible consideration for a year. But it all ended Monday due to the court wishing not to hear the case, having California’s law stay in place by default. While two of the more conservative judges, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, wanted to hear the case, other Justices did not agree.
“The Supreme Court can still be pretty secretive on how they do things,” said San Jose-based lawyer Annie Simmons, who has been part of teams whose cases have reached the Supreme Court, on Monday to the Globe. “Most of the time you won’t hear why they will or will not take a case. Like with the Supreme Court choosing to hear that major Second Amendment case today. You can find reasons for all of it, the new, more conservative makeup of the court being a big part of it, but you don’t hear exactly why.”
“So, while not a victory for anyone, California comes out on top, with their law standing today.”
As of Monday, the state of Texas has not announced what further action they plan to take over the California travel issue.