A Missouri cosmetologist who was accused of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was issued a license to practice medicine on the grounds that the practice violated a religious exemption to the state’s health care law.
The Missouri State Board of Cosmetology issued the license Thursday to Jason H. Johnson, who was charged in January with discrimination for his treatment of three transgender women.
The license was issued after the Board of Commissioners of Cosmetic and Performing Arts granted Johnson a license in January, but the charges have been stayed pending a ruling from the Missouri Supreme Court.
In a statement to the news outlet, the Board stated that Johnson was granted a license “to practice his craft and not to be an instrument of discrimination.”
“The board of commissioners did not adopt the opinion that the licensed practice is the sole basis for licensing,” the statement reads.
“This decision was based upon the fact that Johnson acted within the bounds of his license to perform the practice of cosmetological medicine.”
The Missouri Department of Public Health confirmed the license and the Board’s decision to the The Associated Press, but it was not immediately clear if the license will be revoked.
A spokeswoman for the board said that the license was based on the state constitution and that Johnson had not violated any of its provisions.
The Cosmetological Licensing Board of Missouri was created in November 2015 to “ensure the licensure of cosmeceuticals in accordance with the provisions of the Missouri Cosmetical, Performing and Cosmetographic Licensing Act.”
Johnson has been licensed since 2010 and was previously licensed in Indiana.
The board of directors for the Missouri state agency that oversees cosmetologists said in a statement that the board had not yet seen the licensing application.