- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 19, 2021

A national group representing Christian employers has sued the Biden administration over mandates that religious nonprofit and for-profit employers fund “gender transition surgeries, procedures, counseling, and treatments,” attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom said.

The action, filed in federal district court in Bozeman, Montana, on behalf of the Christian Employers Alliance, which represents nonprofit and for-profit organizations, is the latest of several actions involving the mandates.

On Tuesday, the public interest law firm filed a motion asking a federal court to immediately halt enforcement of the measures.

The Montana lawsuit contends the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, is misinterpreting and improperly enforcing sex discrimination rules contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to demand employers provide the gender transition medical coverage and procedures.

They also contend the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) enforcement of a similar mandate will force religious health-care providers to “physically perform, facilitate, or promote gender transition surgeries and procedures that are contrary to their deeply held religious beliefs and expert medical judgment.”

According to a statement from CEA President Shannon Royce, “employers and entrepreneurs, like many Americans, are growing increasingly concerned by rising costs that can be blamed in part on oppressive government mandates.”

She added that the new rules would create “a unique quagmire of concerns for religious healthcare providers by forcing them to speak positively about gender transition procedures even if they disagree with them.”

ADF senior counsel Matt Bowman, in a statement, accused President Biden of going beyond a president’s authority in issuing the mandates.

“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,” Mr. Bowman said. “The government cannot force Christian employers to pay for, or physically perform, harmful medical procedures that contradict their religious beliefs.”

An August 2021 ADF lawsuit, filed on behalf of the American College of Pediatricians, the Catholic Medical Association, and Dr. Jeanie Dassow, took the administration to task for requiring doctors to perform gender transition procedures regardless of the doctor’s medical judgment or religious beliefs.

“Doctors should never be forced to perform a controversial and often medically dangerous procedure that goes against their best judgment, their conscience, or their religion, especially when it involves vulnerable children experiencing mental and emotional confusion,” ADF Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake said at the time.

“To force doctors to engage in experimental medicine that poses a risk to patients — or face huge financial penalties, withdrawal of federal funding, or removal of their ability to practice medicine — is an extreme violation of doctors’ constitutional rights and certainly not in the best interest of the patients they serve.”

These are not the first cases seeking federal judicial intervention into matter.

In March, Dignity Health, which operates Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Sacramento, California, asked the Supreme Court to take up its case involving the Catholic hospital’s refusal to perform a hysterectomy on a transgender male as part of their transition.

Mercy said such a procedure would be one that “directly contravene Catholic teachings and doctrines.”

The high court hasn’t announced a decision on the Dignity Health petition.

Challenges questioning the Biden administration’s reading of Title VII may run up against a 2020 Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia.

There, a 6-3 majority that included Justice Neil Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., found that the 1964 law’s mention of “sex” did protect transgendered individuals from employment discrimination, even if such a reading was not “anticipated” at the time the law was enacted.

In a statement to The Washington Times, Mr. Bowman said “the Biden administration is illegally using the Bostock decision as an excuse to rewrite all civil rights laws in all contexts having nothing to do with the court’s ruling, and even in violation of religious liberty, which Bostock said supersedes its narrow holding.”

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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