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Christian Groups Sue Va. to Overturn Law That Infringes on Religious Liberty

'Such government hostility toward people of faith has no place in a free society...'

Religious institutions in Virginia have filed a lawsuit to prevent the state from effectively outlawing Christian ministry through anti-discrimination laws and fines.

Alliance Defending Freedom represents two churches, three schools, and a pregnancy center in a state lawsuit filed Monday that seeks relief from the anti-religious Virginia Values Act, ADF reported in a press release.

The lawsuit challenges the Virginia Values Act, a product of the state’s far-left legislature and Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam, that forces Christian churches, schools, health centers, and other ministries to hire employees who reject their beliefs about marriage, sexuality, and gender identity.

If Christian institutions do not abandon their faith, then Virginia will punish them with $100,000 fines for each violation.

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“Such government hostility toward people of faith has no place in a free society,” ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle said.

Not only do Christian institutions have to disobey God to serve the god of anti-discrimination, Virginia requires them to actively affirm and fund what they believe to be evil.

Christian ministries must offer employees health care plans that cover sex organ mutilation surgeries, which the left euphemistically calls “gender affirming” surgeries, as if there is a disconnect between a person’s body and mind.

Virginia’s anti-discrimination laws will also prevent Christian institutions from organizing athletic and ministerial classes for one sex at a time.

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For example, girls cannot play in a church softball group that excludes boys.

ADF also represents photographer Bob Updegrove in a separate federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit challenges the Virginia Values Act because it prevents Updegrove from refusing to photograph homosexual weddings.

If he leaves a statement on his website that explains his decision to refrain from such events, Virginia will punish him with a minimum $50,000 fine.

“Our clients offer spiritual guidance, education, pregnancy support, and athletic opportunities to their communities because of the religious beliefs that motivate them,” Harle said.

“But Virginia’s new law forces these ministries to abandon and adjust their convictions or pay crippling fines—in direct violation of the Virginia Constitution and other state laws,” she said.

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