by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A Virginia judge ruled at a hearing on Friday that Christian ministries must do more than make “speculative claims” about the harm they would suffer from a new state law prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity if they want to prosecute a case against it, Just the News reports. The hearing took place in Loudoun County Court before Circuit Judge James Plowman.
Acting on behalf of Calvary Road Baptist Church, Community Fellowship Church, Community Christian Academy, and pro-life ministry Care, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) group launched the case last fall, Just the News reports.
The plaintiffs allege that the Virginia Values Act (SB 868) violates the Virginia Bill of Rights and state Religious Freedom Restoration Act because it makes “no effective religious exemptions,” Just the News reports. This omission of religious exemptions will force Christian ministries to act against their beliefs when hiring staff, the lawsuit attests.
If they refuse to comply with the law, Christian ministries face investigations, $100,000 fines per violation, “unlimited compensatory and punitive damages” and court orders that force them to violate their beliefs: their ministry would become “impossible,” the lawsuit says.
Dismissing the case, Judge Plowman asked ADF counsel for the plaintiffs: “Is there an actual controversy here?” The judge determined that: “There are not reasonably foreseeable actions to be taken against these [religious] institutions” from the language of the law itself, Just the News reports. “You’ve got to have a reasonable possibility of prosecution” to obtain legal standing, the judge said.
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