Senate Bill 868 -- the Virginia Values Act -- requires churches, religious schools and Christian ministries to hire employees who do not share their beliefs on marriage, sexuality and gender identity. Another law, House Bill 1429, requires ministries and similar institutions to pay for gender reassignment surgery in employee health care plans.
The two laws claim to prevent discrimination against LGBT people -- at the expense of Christian ministries, who are forced to violate strongly-held religious beliefs or face hefty fines amounting up to $100,000. In addition, the laws stipulate that ministries are not allowed to fire employees who go against their missions and are prohibiting from communicating their biblical beliefs.
The suit mentioned that both laws put the ministries “in an impossible position” as they must either drop their fundamental religious beliefs or be subjected to a number of punishments, including huge fines and court orders mandating them to “engage in actions that would violate their consciences.” In addition, the two pro-LGBT laws sent a message that religious persons who did not share the same views with the government on marriage are “second-class citizens, outsiders and not full members of the community,” the suit added.
Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Denise Harle, who represented the Christian ministries, said: “Such government hostility toward people of faith has no place in a free society.”
The lawsuit explained why each ministries named plaintiffs in the suit cannot simply follow the government’s stance on LGBT.
Calvary Road Christian School, one of the plaintiffs, is operated by Calvary Road Baptist Church. Among the church’s fundamental beliefs include: The concept of “two distinct, complementary genders” is immutable, rejecting one’s biological sex is tantamount to rejecting God’s image within that person, marriage is the single, exclusive union of a man and one woman, and sexual intimacy should be limited to a man and woman married to each other.
The church operates Calvary Road Christian School following these beliefs such as athletics based on biological sex and separate facilities for males and females. The school also welcomed workers regardless of race, color, ethnicity or national origin -- as long as they share its religious beliefs. It cannot employ people who disagree with these beliefs as doing so is detrimental to the organization.
The lawsuit mentioned that Democrat lawmakers in Va.’s state legislature who supported the Virginia Values Act expressed antagonistic views toward marriage's traditional definition as between a man and a woman.
Democrat Sen. Adam Ebbin, who was openly gay, was the bill's chief patron in the Va. Senate. In 2016, he condemned a bill permitting religious individuals to refuse formalizing a marriage if it violated their “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Ebbin called the proposed bill an attempt to create “a space for bigotry cloaked under the guise of religious freedom.”
In January of this year, Ebbin posted on Twitter that the State Senate passed a bill repealing the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The bill, which he introduced in November 2019, passed in a 25-13 vote.
A similar instance in which the LGBT mafia to force someone to comply under threat of punishment was documented in 2015, when a gay couple sued a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for them. Doing so was against his Christian beliefs.
Charlie Craig and David Mullins sued Jack Phillips, who owned Masterpiece Cakeshop, for refusing to bake a cake for them. Phillips cited his religious beliefs for his refusal, noting that Christianity did not condone homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The baker did not craft a cake for Craig and Mullins, in accordance with his religious beliefs and right to free speech.
In a subsequent case, Phillips again stood his ground and cited his religious beliefs for declining to bake a “gender transition” case. Male-to-female transgender attorney Autumn Scardinia filed a case against the baker in Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission.
The baker was eventually exonerated in both cases.