Christian employers group files suit against government mandates requiring believers to provide insurance cover for gender transition surgeries
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A non-profit organization representing Christian employers has filed suit against two federal government departments for issuing mandates that would require Christian employers and medical personnel to pay for or perform gender transition surgeries, Just the News reports. The suit claims the government mandates are in violation of constitutional religious freedom rights.
The Christian Employers Alliance is suing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) JN reports. The suit was filed on behalf of CEA by Christian advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
The HHS issued its mandate in May saying it is responsible under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act for “protecting the civil rights of individuals who access or seek to access covered health programs or activities,” a responsibility that includes prohibiting discrimination “on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” JN reports. The EEOC mandate cites Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires employers with over 14 employees to “provide employee health plans or health insurance coverage that cover gender transition surgeries and services, such as medical procedures to transition a biological male to a transgender female or to transition a biological female to a transgender male,” JN said.
According to the ADF lawsuit, the mandates violate both the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), as “HHS currently recognizes no RFRA exemptions under its interpretation of Section 1557 except those ordered by a court,” JN reports. Meanwhile, the lawsuit says, the EEOC mandate misinterprets and improperly enforces Title VII such that it “force[s] religious employers to pay for and provide health insurance coverage for gender transition surgeries and procedures.”
In a statement explaining the suit, ADF senior counsel Matt Bowman said: “The government cannot force Christian employers to pay for, or physically perform, harmful medical procedures that contradict their religious beliefs. By misinterpreting and improperly enforcing federal law, President Biden has far overreached his constitutional authority, to the detriment of people of faith across the country.”
The lawsuit challenges HHS’ “reinterpretation of ‘sex’ in federal law to include gender identity, thereby forcing religious healthcare providers to physically perform or facilitate gender transition surgeries and procedures, contrary to their deeply held beliefs.”
“Many religious employers — including the Christian Employers Alliance and all of its members —hold sincere beliefs that gender transition surgeries and procedures are morally wrong and contradict their beliefs that God purposefully created humans as either a biological male or female and that a person’s biological sex is immutable,” said ADF Senior Counsel Matt Bowman. “By misinterpreting and improperly enforcing federal law, President Biden has far overreached his constitutional authority, to the detriment of people of faith across the country.”
The government, meanwhile, argues that the Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County last year, which held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibiting discrimination based on sex applies to sexual orientation and gender identity, should be applied to the mandates.
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