A Christian nonprofit ministry won a major court victory Monday when a federal judge blocked two Biden administration rules that require the ministry’s members to pay for or perform gender transition surgeries and procedures.
U.S. District Judge Daniel M. Traynor sided with the Christian Employers Alliance in its lawsuit against two Biden administration rules – one involving health insurance and the other involving mandates for doctors, nurses and medical professionals. Both rules prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
The Biden administration’s rules conflict with the Christian Employers Alliance’s beliefs which state that “male and female are immutable realities defined by biological sex” and that “gender reassignment is contrary to Christian Values.”
Traynor granted the ministry’s request for a preliminary injunction blocking the two rules, writing that enforcement would “invariably cause a chill on the free exercise of the Plaintiff’s religious doctrine.”
“The Alliance must either violate its sincerely held beliefs or face monetary losses, fines, and even civil liabilities,” Traynor wrote in his opinion. “The Plaintiffs and their members face a very real irreparable harm if they are either forced to comply or if they refuse to comply.”
Alliance Defending Freedom represented the ministry.
“All employers and healthcare providers, including those in the Christian Employers Alliance, have the constitutional right to conduct their business and render treatment in a manner consistent with their deeply held religious beliefs,” said ADF legal counsel Jacob Reed. “The employers we represent believe that God purposefully created humans as either male or female, and so it would violate their religious beliefs to pay for or perform life-altering medical procedures or surgeries that seek to change one’s biological sex.”
One of the rules, issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), requires employers to provide and pay for health insurance that covers medical procedures surrounding gender transition, including surgery and counseling.
The second rule, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), requires healthcare workers to perform gender transition surgeries and procedures.
Shannon Royce, president of the Christian Employers Alliance, applauded the judge’s decision.
“The administration’s mandates are crippling for the countless Christian-owned and operated businesses seeking to care well for their employees without the fear of punishing fines, burdensome litigation costs, the loss of federal funds, and even criminal penalties,” Royce said. “As stewards of the health and safety of our valued employees, it is unconscionable and unconstitutional to be mandated to provide, pay for, or promote services and procedures that directly contradict our deeply held religious beliefs.”
Traynor was nominated by former President Donald Trump.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Devenorr
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.