West Virginia on the winning side in religious freedom lawsuit | News, Sports, Jobs


CHARLESTON – Attorney General Patrick Morrisey lost in one case to the United States Supreme Court on Thursday, but won in another while preparing to defend two new state laws.

West Virginia was one of many states parties to the federal Fulton lawsuit against the city of Philadelphia, where a Catholic adoption agency was suing Philadelphia over a city order requiring the agency to examine same-sex couples who have expressed interest in adoption services.

In a unanimous decision released Thursday, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Catholic social services. The judges ruled against the city’s 2018 decision to no longer refer families to Catholic social services due to the city’s non-discrimination orders.

The agency agreed to endorse LGBTQ people as adoptive parents and adopt children who identify as LGBTQ. Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, determined that the city’s policy violated the agency’s First Amendment constitutional right to freedom of religion. West Virginia filed a friend of the court brief in support of Catholic Social Services.

“This is a major victory for the First Amendment as the Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the government cannot discriminate against Catholic social services on the basis of their religious beliefs. Morrisey said. “It really is a great victory for the free exercise of religion.”

Morrisey’s victory in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia came shortly after Morrisey was defeated on Thursday in the United States Supreme Court in California v. Texas. In a 7-2 decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled against Morrisey and 17 other Republican state attorneys general and two individuals in their efforts to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. A majority of judges ruled that the attorneys general did not have standing to bring the case in the first place.

The attorney general’s office also announced plans to defend two contested state laws in state and federal courts.

Kanawha County Circuit Judge Tera Salango on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order on behalf of West Virginia’s AFL-CIO and 11 other unions to block implementation of the 2009 bill , the Paycheck Protection Act. The unions filed a complaint last month against HB 2009, over limitations on the use of wages and agency fees by employers and labor organizations for political activities.

The law, which reportedly came into force on Thursday, prohibits employers and payroll officers from withholding part of an employee’s wages and salaries for political activities on behalf of a union or other private organization without permission. express written notice of the employee. The bill also prohibits state, municipal, and county governments from withholding union or club dues from the wages or salaries of a public employee.

Morrisey said the state will appeal Salango’s stay blocking the implementation of the paycheck protection law.

“Nothing in this legislation discriminates against unions”, Morrisey said. “Rather, it simply removes the burden on the government to engage in payroll deductions that benefit voluntary organizations, such as unions, labor organizations and clubs, while preserving deductions for benefits offered.” to all employees because of their job, such as pensions, required. withholding tax, insurance benefits and others.

Morrisey also said the state would intervene in a case brought last month against the state by Lambda Legal, state and national sections of the American Civil Liberties Union and the law firm Cooley LLP against Bill 3293. on the participation of transgender students in interschool sporting events. .

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, was brought on behalf of an 11-year-old transgender girl who was planning to try for her college cross-country team. HB 3293 requires college, high school, or college student-athletes to participate in sports that match their biological sex based on the gender of the student at the time of birth.

“There are good reasons for our office to intervene. The main one is the constitutional duty of the Attorney General to protect the interests of the State ”, Morrisey said. “Fair competition and the preservation of women’s sport are essential. Defending this law will also preserve the many opportunities that Title IX has opened up to girls and women around the world. “

The defense of HB 3293 could become more difficult as President Joe Biden’s administration overturns previous interpretations of Title IX. The Education Department announced this week that Title IX protections extend to transgender students, which prohibits discrimination based on sex. The Justice Department also filed a brief in the state’s transgender student-athlete case siding with Lambda Legal.

State says HB 3293 will protect sports opportunities for girls,“wrote Assistant United States Attorney Fred Westfall Jr.”Neither the facts nor the law support this claim. Certainly there remain significant barriers to full equity in athletics for female students. But allowing the participation of transgender girls, who make up “about half of one percent” of the population of the United States, is not one of them.

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