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Supreme Court Declines to Hear Religious Liberty Dispute Between California, Texas

The Supreme Court said on April 26 it won’t hear a dispute between Texas and California over the latter’s ban on state-funded business travel.

The nation’s top court delivered the decision in an unsigned order.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in February 2020 asked the Supreme Court to strike down California’s ban of state-funded travel from Texas, enacted in response to a law passed in Texas that allows foster care and adoption agencies to decline placements that don’t align with their religious beliefs.

“The law California opposes does not prevent anyone from contributing to child-welfare; in fact, it allows our state to partner with as many different agencies as possible to expand the number of safe and loving homes available to foster children. 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,” he said in a statement at the time.

Nineteen states filed a brief in support of Texas.

The law in question, HB 3859, lets agencies place children only in houses with a married mother and father, among other provisions. California asserted the law “does protect agencies that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“For example, it would not protect an agency that declines to provide adoption services to an interracial couple on religious grounds; it would, however, protect an agency that declines to provide the same services to a same-sex couple on religious grounds,” the state said in a filing (pdf) to the Supreme Court, arguing that the measure effectively authorized discrimination against gay and lesbian couples hoping to adopt or foster children, which would violate ...