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Supreme Court Justice Criticizes Missouri Court

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A Missouri prison worker sued the Department of Corrections for a hostile work environment due to discrimination based on her sexual orientation.

The jury ruled in her favor, awarding her $275,000.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito criticized Missouri courts for excluding potential jurors with traditional religious views on homosexuality, expressing concerns about the impact of the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, with Alito suggesting this decision could lead to further challenges to Obergefell.

Conservatives aim to protect the rights of religious Americans in legal proceedings, arguing against juror exclusion based on religious beliefs.

“In this case, the court below reasoned that a person who still holds traditional religious views on questions of sexual morality is presumptively unfit to serve on a jury in a case involving a party who is a lesbian,” Alito wrote.

“That holding exemplifies the danger that I anticipated in Obergefell v. Hodges … namely, that Americans who do not hide their adherence to traditional religious beliefs about homosexual conduct will be ‘labeled as bigots and treated as such’ by the government.”

“The trial court excluded from service two potential jurors who expressed anti-homsexual beliefs. In doing so, the trial court focused on the potential jurors’ beliefs, not their religion, and afforded both parties a fair trial,” attorney Christina Nielsen said.

“The Constitution does not tolerate excluding jurors on the basis of race or sex. It ought not to tolerate exclusion on the basis of religion, the very first freedom protected by the Bill of Rights,” Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey wrote.

“The belief-based exclusion was necessary because the plaintiff’s homosexuality was a central issue in the case,” Nielsen said.

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