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Calvary road baptist church, ADF.png
Calvary road baptist church, ADF.png
USA News

LGBT hires won’t be forced on Christian organisations in Virginia

by Heather Preston

The US state of Virginia has allowed a group of churches, Christian schools and pro-life pregnancy centres the right to hire workers who adhere to the same belief system.

Represented by the Christian legal group ADF, the Christian groups filed a lawsuit against the state and then-Attorney General Mark Herring in September 2020 following the enactment of the Virginia Values Act.

Under the state anti-discrimination law, religious organisations were directed to employ people who did not share their belief systems, including those with differing views on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to $100,000 (£78,722) per violation, according to ADF.

The measure also required companies to include gender-affirming surgeries and sex reassignment care in their employee health plans.

The plaintiffs argued the enactment of the law violated their religious freedom.

In a settlement reached last week, the state conceded the ministries would "not be required to employ individuals who do not profess and live according to the religious beliefs" held by the organisations. Additionally, Virginia officials agreed that commonwealth law protects the ministries from having to pay for or facilitate any gender reassignment surgeries or hormonal interventions for gender dysphoria, which would violate the company's beliefs about sex and gender.

ADF senior counsel Kevin Theriot said: "Religious organisations are free to operate their ministries without fear of government punishment, and Virginia's law protects that foundational right.

"Our clients are motivated by their faith to offer spiritual guidance, education, pregnancy support, and athletic opportunities to their communities. The commonwealth must respect their right—just like anyone else's—to continue operating by their own internal policies and codes of conduct about life, marriage, and sexuality."



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