Opponents of the Biden administration’s mandates requiring religious employers to provide health care coverage for “gender transition surgeries, procedures, counseling, and treatments” had their day in court Monday as a federal judge heard arguments in a suit calling for an end to such mandates.
The Christian Employers Alliance, which represents for-profit and nonprofit employers, sued the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the mandates, claiming the panel misinterprets and improperly enforces provisions against sex discrimination in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to require such coverage.
The action also contends that enforcement of a similar rule by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would compel religious health-care providers to “perform or facilitate or promote” transition-related procedures and surgeries that violate the employers’ beliefs.
“The government has no place to force people or organizations by mandates to violate their religious beliefs,” said attorney Jacob Reed of Alliance Defending Freedom, a public-interest law firm, in a telephone interview. “That is unconstitutional, plain and simple. And it has no place in our society.”
Mr. Reed said the employers group is seeking the “same religious protection” won by the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Roman Catholic religious order, in 2020 at the Supreme Court against mandates requiring them to comply with Affordable Care Act mandates regarding birth control coverage in health insurance.
He said the CEA has asked federal District Court Judge Daniel M. Traynor, an appointee of former President Trump, to issue a preliminary injunction barring the EEOC or HHS from enforcing these mandates against its members.
“We intend to continue to prosecute this case and ultimately seek a permanent injunction, which will permanently prohibit the federal government from enforcing these mandates,” Mr. Reed said.
Shannon Rice, president of the Christian Employers Alliance, said that the 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.”
The Washington Times has contacted the EEOC and HHS for comment.