Virginia Churches and Religious Groups Ask Court to Reconsider Protecting Them from Discriminatory State Law

A coalition of organizations last October filed a lawsuit against Virginia over a law that bars employers from making hiring decisions on the basis of “gender identity” and sexual orientation. There is no religious exemption. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represents the coalition, which includes Calvary Road Baptist Church and pregnancy center Care Net.

The Virginia legislature passed the Virginia Values Act, which added “gender identity” and sexual orientation to so-called nondiscrimination laws. Religious organizations seek to hire employees who share their beliefs on marriage, sexuality, and gender identity, but they could face legal jeopardy under the Act. A court ruled against the coalition, reasoning that members didn’t have standing to sue until they were threatened with prosecution.

ADF announced that the coalition asked the court to reconsider its decision (emphasis added):

The court had ruled that the nonprofits couldn’t challenge the law until they were threatened with prosecution, but three new federal appellate decisions have recognized the ability to file similar challenges. In addition, the motion for reconsideration provides legal precedent that supports the court’s jurisdiction over a previously dismissed commonwealth commission named as a defendant in the suit.

Nonprofit ministries in Virginia face fines of up to $100,000 for each violation.

Photo credit: Alliance Defending Freedom

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