On Monday, April 26, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider Texas’ challenge to California’s ban on California-funded business trips to other states deemed to discriminate against LGBTQ people. The ban does not apply to California law enforcement, tax auditors, and collectors, and anyone who needs to travel to these states to appear before a federal committee are exempt from the ban.
California passed the law in 2017, and it is enforced by the California Attorney General (at the time of the Texas ban, Xavier Becerra, the current HHS Secretary). The California travel ban applies to any state enacting a law that “authorizes discrimination” against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, repeals state or local protections for LGBT citizens, or creates exemptions to such laws in order to permit discrimination against same-sex couples or their families.
In 2018 Becerra listed Texas along with Kentucky and South Dakota for their laws that allow discrimination against LGBT parents seeking to adopt or foster a child even if in the child’s best interest. The 2018 action joined earlier bans against travel to Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
The Supreme Court did not comment in rejecting the request for a hearing, but Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said they would have allowed the lawsuit to go before the Supreme Court. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sought the Supreme Court hearing, and he has called the California law an effort “to punish Texans for respecting the right of conscience for foster care and adoption providers.”