Tuesday 5 March 2024

Federal Judge Rules That Christian Employers Do Not Have To Pay For Transgender Surgeries

 A federal judge in North Dakota ruled on Monday that the Biden administration cannot compel Christian employers and health care providers to pay for transgender surgeries and other procedures.

Judge Daniel Traynor for the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota ruled in favor of the Christian Employers Alliance, which had challenged the Biden administration’s interpretation of federal discrimination law. Traynor, a Trump nominee, said that the Christian groups were protected under religious liberty protections from being forced to provide “gender transition services.” 

The judge ruled against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Health and Human Services interpretation of discrimination law, which would mandate that every employer covers transgender surgeries. Traynor said that the Christian Employers Alliance’s “religious beliefs are substantially burdened by the monetary penalties it faces for refusing to violate its beliefs.”

“Here, CEA’s sincerely held religious belief is that male and female are immutable realities defined by biological sex and that gender reassignment is contrary to Christian Values,” Traynor wrote. “As a result, performing or providing health care coverage for gender transition services under the EEOC and HHS coverage mandates impinges upon CEA’s beliefs. CEA must either comply with the EEOC and HHS mandates by violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or else face harsh consequences like paying fines and facing civil liability.”

The Christian Employers Alliance first filed the lawsuit in October 2021 and took issue with the Equal Employment Opportunity commission’s interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that employers needed to cover transgender surgeries. It also challenged the Health and Human Services’ interpretation of sex to include gender identity for discrimination purposes. 

The decision was celebrated by the Christian Employers Alliance and the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the group. 

“We are overjoyed our members will not have to choose between the biblically based employee benefits and quality healthcare they provide, and the threat of federal enforcement and massive costs for practicing their faith,” Christian Employers Alliance President Shannon Royce said. 


ADF Senior Counsel and Director of Regulatory Practice Matt Bowman praised the court for blocking the Biden administration’s mandates. 

“All employers and healthcare providers, including those in the Christian Employers Alliance, have the constitutionally protected freedom to conduct their business and render treatment in a manner consistent with their deeply held religious beliefs,” Bowman said. “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 sex.”

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