Media Trail: December 5, 2019

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Judge blocks challenge to Indiana’s religious objections law reported conservative religious groups have failed to convince an Indiana judge they faced any harm from limits placed on the state’s contentious religious objections law signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence.

The Hamilton County judge agreed with arguments the state and four cities made in blocking a lawsuit challenging changes made to the 2015 law after a national uproar over whether it could be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. The judge’s ruling filed Nov. 22 doesn’t address the groups’ claims, including that the changes could force them to hire same-sex marriage supporters.

An attorney for the religious groups didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

Their lawsuit also challenged local civil rights ordinances in Indianapolis, Carmel, Bloomington and Columbus that include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

St. Louis County: Missouri allows anti-gay discrimination

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported lawyers representing St. Louis County are challenging a $20 million verdict in a gay officer’s lawsuit, claiming it is legal to discriminate against gay people in Missouri.

Police Sgt. Keith Wildhaber alleged in his lawsuit that he had been passed over for a promotion 23 times and was told to “tone down your gayness.” The verdict was announced in October.

The county’s new legal team, the Lewis Rice law firm, is asking a judge to amend the verdict or order a new trial. It argues that Wildhaber brought his suit under the Missouri Human Rights Act, which offers no protection against sexual orientation discrimination.

A spokesman for Page says mediation is still planned with the hope of reaching a settlement.

Transgender inmate ruling could change Nevada prison policy

The Las Vegas Sun reported the Nevada Attorney General has announced that the state must comply with a recent federal appeals court ruling mandating the Idaho Department of Corrections pay for a transgender inmate’s gender-affirmation surgery so long as the ruling is not overturned.

Attorney General Aaron Ford made the announcement in response to policy questions for the Nevada Department of Corrections during a Nov. 25 department meeting.

Appellate court officials said the decision was upheld in August requiring Idaho to pay for gender-affirmation surgery altering the sex characteristics of an inmate to match their gender identity.

Court officials said denying the surgery would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

Ford said the Idaho ruling set a precedent for similar cases in other states, including Nevada.