- The Washington Times - Monday, August 29, 2022

A faith-based Michigan health care operation filed suit Monday to block new state-mandated rules on transgender care that the nonprofit organization says would force its staff and caregivers to violate their religious beliefs.

In the suit filed in Michigan’s Western District federal court, Christian Healthcare Centers said recent rulings reinterpreting state civil rights law “to include sexual orientation and gender identity” mean the group would have to hire people who do not share the organization’s values.

The state could require the organization to prescribe cross-sex hormones, and “use pronouns that do not accord with a person’s biological sex,” according to a statement from public-interest law firm Alliance Defending Freedom.

Christian Healthcare Centers said the nonprofit has served and will continue to serve “members who identify as transgender and would welcome many more,” but providing patients with “transition” care would violate core beliefs, according to the suit.

The suit names Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel; Michigan Department of Civil Rights Executive Director John E. Johnson, Jr.; and seven members of the state’s Civil Rights Commission as defendants.

Patients treated under the group’s health plan are not required to be Christians, but the organization has prayer with its employees daily as well as at quarterly work-force meetings that also include worship, Bible study and “an extended period of corporate prayer,” the firm said in its filing.

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“Christian Healthcare Centers should not be forced to check its faith at the clinic door—the very faith that motivates the nonprofit to open its doors to help those in need,” ADF senior counsel Hal Frampton said in a statement.

The group’s clinics, he said, serve “everybody with compassionate care and respect, including patients who identify as the opposite of their biological sex, providing them with the same high-quality care it provides to all of its patients. Yet this lawsuit is necessary to protect Christian Healthcare Centers’ constitutional rights and to ensure other religious organizations can freely operate according to the dictates of their faith.”

According to ADF senior counsel John Bursch, the clinics “should be free to continue its vibrant outreach to the community through its low-cost, high-quality medical care. It’s unconstitutional for the state to require that this Christian ministry abandon its faith principles in order to continue serving those in need.”

A spokeswoman for Ms. Nessel said Monday afternoon their office “has not yet been served and will review the document once it is received.”

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

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