The Supreme Court said on April 26, 2021 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 California law.
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AG Paxton: California’s Travel Ban Undermines National Unity; Violates U.S. Constitution by Punishing Those Who Respect Religious Liberty
Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed an original action against the State of California in the United States Supreme Court, seeking to strike down California’s travel ban for states that uphold First Amendment protections for religious liberty. California added Texas to the ban on state-funded travel after the Texas Legislature implemented a law allowing faith-based foster care and adoption agencies to decline placements that violated their religious beliefs. Texas respects and honors the religious beliefs of its citizens. California lawmakers do not. As a co-author of California’s travel ban admitted, they see religious beliefs as nothing more than “code to discriminate against different people.”
Texas partners with a diverse array of agencies to expand the number of safe and loving homes available to children. California’s opposition to diverse and inclusive options for foster children, along with its decision to utilize commerce as a tool of economic warfare, divide the nation and demonstrate a disregard for the safety and well-being of Texas children.
“California is attempting to punish Texans for respecting the right of conscience for foster care and adoption providers. And as the U.S. Supreme Court said recently in upholding the religious liberty of artist Jack Phillips, disparaging religious beliefs like the California Legislature did here, ‘as merely rhetorical – something insubstantial and even insincere,’ is inappropriate for any entity charged with enacting fair and neutral laws,” said Attorney General Paxton. “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.”
Read a copy of the original filing below or here.20200511132730149_No153-Texas-v-California-Brief-Opposition