Several states used Texas to file a suit against the sex nondiscrimination requirement of the Affordable Care Act. The rule that came with this requirement “forbids discrimination on the basis of ‘gender identity’ and ‘termination of pregnancy.’” The states chose Texas because federal courts in Texas are more conservative. And they got what they wanted. A District Court judge ruled that a doctor’s religious freedom and independent medical judgment was more important than our need for protection against discrimination. The ruling stated it overturned the rule not just in the district covered by the court, but nationwide.
Michelangelo Signorile, writing for Huffington Post, explains the consequences. This ruling was based on the Hobby Lobby decision made by the Supremes in 2014, which expanded the use of religious freedoms. I wrote about the Hobby Lobby decision here and its implications here. This district judge has now set the precedent that religious freedoms can indeed be used to block nondiscrimination laws across the country – and our opponents will certainly bring lawsuits against our protections.
The 5th Circuit Court will not overturn this decision. They’re also quite conservative. That leaves the Supremes, which by the time this case gets there will have at least one new conservative justice. Couple that with the nasty guy’s pledge to sign a First Amendment Defense Act – a national Religious Freedom protection law. Their goal is to make it legal to discriminate against LGBT people based on religious beliefs.