Four Protestant churches in Massachusetts have filed suit challenging a new state policy that requires all institutions to allow “transgender” individuals to use the restrooms and changing facilities designated for the sex with which they identify.
The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination - a board of three
commissioners appointed by the governor - has ruled that churches are not
exempt from a new state law requiring equal access for “transgenders” to
all public accommodations. The state’s attorney general, Maura Healey,
endorsed that finding.
The same law also bans statements that are designed to discriminate
against people on the basis of their chosen gender identity, or to
“incite” others to discriminate. The plaintiffs argue that this
provision limits the freedom of pastors to proclaim their beliefs
regarding human sexuality.
The churches’ suit, filed in federal court on October 11, argues that
the new state policy violates the right of religious institutions to
administer their facilities and programs in a manner consistent with
“The government shouldn’t encroach on the internal,
religious practices of a church,” argues Steve O’Ban, a representative
of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is providing legal
representation for the churches.
The four churches bringing the suit have asked the federal court to
suspend enforcement of the new state policy until the issue is decided.
No Catholic churches are directly involved in the suit.