Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday against the state of California over its 2016 travel ban law which prohibits state funds being used for travel to states that protect religious freedom. In 2017 Texas passed religious conscience protections for faith-based foster and adoption agencies. Those agencies only place children with married moms and dads, drawing the ire of LGBT advocates.
Paxton claims that the travel ban is having a negative fiscal impact on Texas.
“California is attempting to punish Texans for respecting the right of conscience for foster care and adoption providers,” Paxton said in a statement. “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.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Supreme Court rather than in a lower federal court because the Constitution provides for this unique procedure when states sue each other. Under Article III, Section 2, the judicial power (sometimes called “original jurisdiction”) vested in the Supreme Court extends to several unusual types of cases, including “…to Controversies between two or more States… .”
California has singled out 10 states in addition to Texas for its travel ban, including: Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, South Carolina and Iowa. And they have all been targeted for the same reason: they have all “enacted a law that authorizes or requires discrimination against same-sex couples or their families or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”
But the California law is based on a flawed talking point, not logic or data. The talking point goes like this: Faith-based agencies “discriminate” against LGBT couples, which results in fewer same-sex couples adopting or fostering children. No factual evidence is ever presented to back up that statement. Even worse, it flips the emphasis on what the issue ought to be. The societal “good” being served should always be focused on how many children are being served, not how many adults are offended by the existence of agencies that operate on biblical principles.
In the typical state, for example, the vast majority of child placement agencies will work with LGBT couples, and a small minority of agencies operate according to their religious beliefs about marriage. One simple way to see this reality is to note that the lawsuits springing up around the country involve typically only one agency in any given city or state out of all of the private agencies that operate in those locales.
There are no examples that I have seen in the media or in these court cases that involve same-sex couples not being able to find an agency that will help them adopt or foster a child.
Allowing what turns out to be a few faith-based agencies to operate along biblical principles doesn’t detract from helping children; it helps. Some at-risk moms who choose adoption for their child want to work with an agency who shares her religious beliefs. Likewise, religious moms and dads want to work with faith-based agencies who share their core beliefs.
Eliminating faith-based agencies doesn’t result in anything positive for children. It does, however, guarantee that fewer agencies will be around to meet the needs of children. Why would anyone, even in the name of LGBT “rights,” want fewer children to find homes?
The use of boycotts by states like California only has one purpose: to punish states who prioritize the freedom of religion over LGBT ideology. Texas is well within its rights to challenge California’s law.