Federal judge rules for-profit faith-based businesses can discriminate against LGBTQ people
A federal district court judge in Texas has ruled in favor of a longtime virulently anti-LGBTQ activist, deciding that for-profit businesses and religious entities like churches can discriminate against LGBTQ people in employment.
The ruling comes more than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County, that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ workers.
U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor, appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007, ruled in favor of Dr. Steven Hotze (photo). In his ruling Judge O'Connor cited the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the First Amendment, according to Bloomberg Law.
In April of 2015 Dr. Hotze, a GOP powerbroker, compared same-sex marriage to the Holocaust and gay people to murderers, defending his belief that Texas should ignore the impending Supreme Court ruling that found same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage.
Hotze filed the lawsuit in May on behalf of his Christian-based healthcare business, Braidwood Management Inc., and Bear Creek Bible Church, so they can "hire and fire in accordance with sincerely held religious beliefs and employment policies," according to the 70-page ruling.
Dr. Hotze in not only a business owner and anti-LGBTQ activist. He is deeply involved in Texas state politics.
Last year Hotze demanded Gov. Greg Abbott order the National Guard to "shoot to kill" Black Lives Matter protestors marching against police brutality, especially the police shootings of unarmed Black men, according to the Texas Tribune.
"I want you to give a message to the governor," Hotze told Abbott's chief of staff, Luis Saenz, in a voicemail. "I want to make sure that he has National Guard down here and they have the order to shoot to kill if any of these son-of-a-bitch people start rioting like they have in Dallas, start tearing down businesses — shoot to kill the son of a bitches. That's the only way you restore order. Kill 'em. Thank you."