- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A judge is allowing conservative groups to go ahead with a lawsuit challenging four Indiana cities over their anti-discrimination ordinances that include protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

On Wednesday, Hamilton Superior Judge Steven R. Nation rejected claims from Indianapolis, Carmel, Bloomington and Columbus that the suit should be dismissed because the groups aren’t affected by their ordinances.

Nation also ordered the Indiana Family Institute and the American Family Association of Indiana to bring their lawsuit against the state, since they’re challenging the constitutionality of an Indiana law.

“We will now get our day in court to argue why we believe that the language of civil rights shouldn’t be hijacked to give privileges to the politically correct and politically powerful, while taking away freedoms from people of faith or traditional values,” American Family Association of Indiana Executive Director Micah Clark wrote in an email to supporters.

She said that every resident should be free to live and work peacefully according to their faith without fear of “unjust punishment by a human rights commission or a government agency.”

A challenge conservatives will face is proving their case belongs in court with examples or evidence. They did not have a specific incident of breaking ordinances and facing consequences.

“Just challenging it because you care about it isn’t enough,” Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor Ryan Scott said.

The lawsuit tests the Religious Freedom Restoration Act revision, which said the law couldn’t be used to justify denying housing, jobs or services based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The conservative groups said the revision is unconstitutional because it dismisses their conservative Christian beliefs on marriage and sexuality.

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