The Christian Employers Alliance filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Monday over two mandates that force religious nonprofit and for-profit employers to fund “gender transition surgeries, procedures, counseling, and treatments.”
On Tuesday, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a motion asking a federal district court in Bozeman, Mont. to immediately stop enforcement of the measures on behalf of the Christian employers group.
The lawsuit argues that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is misinterpreting and improperly enforcing the definition of sex discrimination included in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to force employers to provide gender transition medical coverage and procedures in violation of their religious beliefs.
It adds that the enforcement of a similar mandate by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that reinterprets “sex” to include gender identity will require 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.”
CEA President Shannon Royce said in a statement that “employers and entrepreneurs, like many Americans, are growing increasingly concerned by rising costs that can be blamed in part on oppressive government mandates.”
“These gender transition mandates greatly exacerbate this problem by threatening religious employers with punishing fines, burdensome litigation costs, the loss of federal funds, and even criminal penalties,” Royce said. “Additionally, the mandate creates 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.”
Meanwhile, ADF senior counsel Matt Bowman said President Biden has “far overreached his constitutional authority” by improperly enforcing federal law “to the detriment of people of faith across the country.”
“The government cannot force Christian employers to pay for, or physically perform, harmful medical procedures that contradict their religious beliefs,” Bowman said in a statement.
Challenges to the administration’s interpretation of Title VII may face an uphill battle in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga. in 2020, which said sex discrimination protections in the workplace include transgender people.