A judge in Northern Virginia dismissed a suit brought by some Christian ministries against a new state law that the ministries say takes away their religious liberties, forcing them to accept others’ behavior and not merely their physical characteristics and background.
According to the Tennessee Star, the organizations, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, say the law could force them to hire people who do not share their religious beliefs, and an accompanying insurance law could force them as employers to help pay for abortions.
The new, Democrat-created Virginia Values Act adds lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons as a protected class under the state Human Rights Act, making it possible for one’s disagreement with behavior to be punished as something like racism.
“Is there an actual controversy here?” Loudoun County Circuit Judge James Plowman queried the lawyer for Calvary Road Baptist Church, Community Fellowship Church, Community Christian Academy and pro-life ministry Care Net at July 16 hearing. He called their fears about how the Virginia Values Act (SB 868) would be enforced “speculative,” and said “There are not reasonably foreseeable actions to be taken against these [religious] institutions” evident in the actual language of the law.
The ministries said they removed statements on “biblical marriage,” sexuality and gender from their websites out of fear of being found in violation of the law, said Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Denise Harle, adding: “That alone is enough” for the plaintiffs to show they have standing to bring an “ordinary pre-enforcement challenge seeking a declaration of what the law means.”
Judge Plowman described any harm the ministries have suffered as “self-inflicted” rather than forced by the year-old law.
Alliance Defending Freedom said that the dismissal is unfair. “Americans have the right to challenge unjust laws,” they said in a statement. “We don’t have to wait for the punishment.”