Northern Virginia church challenges LGTB anti-discrimination protections in court
A Loudoun County Baptist church is asking a circuit court to overturn two new state laws providing sweeping LGBT anti-discrimination protections.
The easy defense proffered by Attorney General Mark Herring: and the harm is?
“Plaintiffs seek to invalidate both new laws as incompatible with religious freedom. But plaintiffs have not—and cannot—identify any non-speculative harm caused by the statutes. For one thing, the Virginia Values Act has never been enforced against plaintiffs, much less in the way they claim.”
This, per a legal brief filed by the AG’s office, asking the court to dismiss the case brought by Calvary Road Baptist Church, which seeks to overturn the Virginia Values Act and a companion bill that provides anti-discrimination protections for transgender individuals in health insurance coverage.
The church, in its brief, explains that its members believe that “marriage has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman,” that “God creates each human uniquely and immutably male or female,” and that transgender conduct “is sinful and outside of God’s will.”
Which is all well and good, it being a free country and all, but, again, the harm is?
The plaintiffs do not contend that the provisions have ever been enforced against their ministries, the AG’s office notes in its brief.
“This silence is telling, and there is good reason for it. The Virginia Values Act has only been effective since July 1 of this year and, as of this month, the new state law prohibitions on discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity have not yet been enforced against anyone—much less plaintiffs.”
Basically, you can sue anybody you want to, but a court will throw your suit out if you can’t establish that you’ve been wronged.
We all know what this suit is really about: politics.
“The passage of the Virginia Values Act was a monumental achievement, and the Commonwealth became the first southern state to enact these sweeping anti-discrimination protections for the LGBT community,” Herring said. “We are all Virginians, and we all deserve to be treated fairly and to live free of fear of discrimination just for who we love, what we look like, where we come from or how we worship. I won’t stop defending the Virginia Values Act and all other Virginia anti-discrimination statutes so we can continue to protect Virginia’s LGBT community.”
Story by Chris Graham