By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a challenge by Republican-governed Texas to a law enacted by Democratic-led California that bars state-funded travel to states deemed to be hostile to the rights of LGBT people.
The 2016 measure was enacted in the most populous U.S. state in response to laws in conservative states that allowed certain businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers. Those laws cited the need to protect religious liberty.
Two conservative justices, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, said they would have heard the case.
Texas sued after California in 2017 added it to its list, now numbering 12, of states covered by the ban.
Texas was placed on the list after its Republican-controlled legislature passed a measure that allowed child welfare providers to deny service based on their religious beliefs – a move California said would allow groups to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Texas said in its lawsuit, which was filed directly at the Supreme Court as is allowed in some disputes between states, that California’s law violated the U.S. Constitution’s so-called commerce clause by discriminating against interstate commerce. West Virginia, Kansas and Tennessee were among 19 states that filed a brief backing Texas.
Former President Donald Trump’s administration had urged the court to take up the case, saying the California law “transgresses constitutional principles that are designed to bind the states together in a single union.”
In a case also filed directly at the Supreme Court in December, Texas asked the justices to toss out President-elect Joe Biden’s election victories over Trump in four key states. The court also rejected that request.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)