Christian Employers Alliance, a nonprofit Christian membership ministry, is challenging two policies, including an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rule that requires employers – including religious nonprofit and for-profit employers – to provide and pay for health insurance that covers medical procedures surrounding gender transition, including surgery and counseling.
The ministry also is challenging a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule that requires healthcare workers, including religious healthcare providers, to perform gender transition surgeries and procedures.
“Many religious employers – including CEA and all its members – hold sincerely held religious beliefs that such gender transition surgeries and procedures are morally wrong,” the lawsuit, filed in federal court, says. “Providing these gender interventions contradicts their beliefs that God purposefully created humans as either a biological male or female and that a person’s biological sex is immutable. Neither the EEOC nor HHS provide religious exemptions from these Mandates.”
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the Christian Employers Alliance.
The legal debate over the two rules involves the interpretation of federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on sex. The Biden administration interprets “sex” to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
“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,” said ADF senior counsel Matt Bowman. “The government cannot force Christian employers to pay for, or physically perform, harmful medical procedures that contradict their religious beliefs. The Constitution protects religious healthcare providers and employers and allows them to go about their work in a manner compatible with their deeply held convictions and faith.”
The issue has seen multiple legal rounds in court. Earlier this year, a group of religious medical professionals asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to protect them from the HHS mandate. The court has yet to issue a decision.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Bulat Silvia
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.