A pregnancy center, a group of churches and private schools in Virginia are suing the state over a law that says employers cannot discriminate on hiring based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
According to The Christian Post, Calvary Road Baptist Church of Fairfax County and its school, Community Fellowship Church of Staunton and its school, Community Christian Academy of Charlottesville, and Care Net of Loudon County filed the suit last week.
The Virginia Values Act, also called Senate Bill 868, was passed in April and took effect in July after being signed by Gov. Ralph Northam.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative law firm, is representing the group in the lawsuit.
The complaint says that employers would be forced to “hire employees who do not share and follow their beliefs on biblical marriage, sexuality, and gender,” “prohibit the Ministries from terminating employees who oppose their missions and convictions,” and “make the Ministries use their facilities in a way that contradicts biblical teachings on sexuality, marriage, and gender.”
“SB 868 puts the Ministries in an impossible position: they must either abandon the religious convictions they were founded upon, or be ready to face investigations, an onerous administrative process, fines up to $100,000 for each violation, unlimited compensatory and punitive damages and attorney-fee awards, and court orders forcing them to engage in actions that would violate their consciences,” the complaint says.
Democratic Senator Adam Ebbin, who sponsored the bill, says the law “sends a strong, clear message that Virginia is a place where all people are welcome to live, work, visit, and raise a family.”
“We are building an inclusive Commonwealth where there is opportunity for everyone, and everyone is treated fairly,” stated the governor.
“No longer will LGBTQ Virginians have to fear being fired, evicted, or denied service in public places because of who they are.”
Photo courtesy: Drahomir Posteby Mach/Unsplash
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.