State Supreme Court won’t hear Sweet Cakes by Melissa appeal

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court has declined to consider the case of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the now-defunct bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013 based on the bakers’ religious objections.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Friday the Supreme Court turned down the case with no explanation.

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Bills to curtail LGBTQ rights are failing in US legislatures

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NEW YORK (AP) — In a striking shift from recent years, major legislation curtailing LGBTQ rights has been completely stymied in state capitols around the country this year amid anxiety by Republican leaders over igniting economic backlash if they are depicted as discriminatory.

In the thick of this year’s legislative sessions, LGBTQ activists were tracking about 120 proposed bills that they viewed as threats to their civil rights. Not one of them has been enacted as many sessions now wind down; only two remain under serious consideration.

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Texas adoption agencies could soon be allowed to ban LGBTQ couples

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Parents seeking to adopt children in Texas could soon be rejected by state-funded or private agencies with religious objections to them being LGBTQ, Jewish, Muslim, single, or interfaith couples, under a proposal in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Five other states have passed similar laws protecting faith-based adoption organizations that refuse to place children with gay parents or other households on religious grounds – but Texas’ rule would extend to state-funded agencies. Only South Dakota’s is similarly sweepingly.

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Texas Supreme Court hearing case to limit same-sex marriage legalization

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – The Texas Supreme Court agreed Jan. 20 to hear a Houston case that top conservatives hope will provide an opening to challenge the landmark 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

Reversing its previous ruling, the state’s highest civil court set arguments for March in a lawsuit seeking to halt same-sex spousal benefits that America’s fourth-largest city offers its municipal employees. The nine Republican justices had ruled in September not to hear the case in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling from the previous summer that same-sex marriage was constitutional nationwide.

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Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage supports Mississippi ‘religious objections’ law

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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage is backing Mississippi’s appeal to reinstate a law letting merchants and government employees cite religious beliefs to deny services to same-sex couples.

The “religious objections” law was struck down in July.

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North Carolina judges can still refuse to marry same-sex couples

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A federal judge has dismissed a challenge to a North Carolina law that says magistrates with religious objections can refuse to marry same-sex couples.

The judge ruled the three couples who brought the case – two gay and one interracial – lacked legal standing to sue and lacked evidence showing they were harmed directly by the law that took effect in June 2015.

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