Nine states join court battle to legalise anti-gay discrimination
Texas is leading a group of nine Republican-dominated states in another lawsuit against the federal government.
Governor of Mississippi Phil Bryant signed a new law in April that enables discrimination against LGBT people – ignoring pleas from business leaders in the state.
The Religious Liberty Accommodations Act went even further than most – even permitting people to discriminate based on sexual orientation in “any employment-related decision” and “any decision concerning the sale, rental, [or] occupancy of a dwelling” as long as it’s based on “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction”.
It was struck down by a court just hours before it was meant to come into effect in June, after a judge found it unconstitutional.
However, a coalition of states have now joined a legal battle to revive the law.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the states, alongside Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah, alongside Maine Governor Paul LePage. The group this week filed an amicus brief in support of the law.
Paxton claims: “The law in Mississippi simply affirms what the U.S. Supreme Court professed in [equal marriage ruling] Obergefell: that religious men and women be ‘given proper protection’ to exercise their faith.
“Americans have the right to peacefully live and work according to their deeply held beliefs, in accordance with the religious freedoms enshrined in our Constitution.
“We look forward to the Fifth Circuit upholding this religious liberty protection on appeal.”
Paxton has squandered an immense amount of taxpayer money pursuing vexatious lawsuits against the Obama administration.
He recently sued in a bid to tear down the part of the Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare) that ensures doctors can’t refuse to treat patients because they’re gay.