Today, HRC blasted a federal lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the extremist Becket Fund for Religious Liberty that seeks to overturn a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulation implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act which bars discrimination in health insurance and by health providers accepting federal funds.
In the lawsuit, Texas -- joined by Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska and Wisconsin -- asks the federal government to block enforcement of the rule, which clarifies that federal protections barring discrimination based on sex include an individual’s gender identity and covers reproductive health. This lawsuit marks the latest attempt by Paxton to discriminate against LGBTQ Texans because of who they are. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, who earlier this week ruled against the Departments of Justice and Education’s guidance on schools’ obligations to transgender students. In March of 2015, Judge O’Connor also sought to block Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rights for legally married same-sex couples despite the Supreme Court of the United States' decision in United States v. Windsor (2013).
“Ken Paxton’s continued attacks on transgender Americans are politically motivated, designed to intimidate and simply beyond the pale,” said Jay Brown, HRC communications director. “After months of demonizing and targeting transgender students, it seems he has decided that all transgender people must be the target of his machination. We strongly oppose Paxton’s harmful lawsuit, and the courts should see it for what it is -- a shameful, cheap political attack.”
Paxton has led a sustained, targeted attack on LGBTQ Texans, most recently with his filing of a federal lawsuit on behalf of Texas and 10 other states challenging the Departments of Justice and Education’s guidance regarding schools’ obligations to transgender students. Paxton, who currently faces three felony fraud indictments for violating state securities laws and civil fraud charges, has continually attacked his LGBTQ constituents, all in an attempt to cater to his most extreme, anti-equality supporters.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty represented Hobby Lobby in the 2014 Supreme Court of the United States case, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, in which the Court determined that select for profit businesses could cite religious religious beliefs as a reason to deny contraception coverage. The case filed by Paxton challenging the Affordable Care Act regulation prohibiting discrimination against transgender people and discrimination in reproductive care makes claims under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and invokes the Hobby Lobby decision.