Posted BY: T.R. Clancy

A Catholic parish in St. John’s, Michigan has filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the state, claiming the parish’s religious liberty is imperiled by a new interpretation of the state’s comprehensive civil-rights statute, redefining “sex discrimination” to include “sexual orientation or gender identity.”  The new version doesn’t include any religious exemptions. 

St. Joseph’s parish serves 900 families, in addition to operating a Catholic school for 200 students from kindergarten to sixth grade.  But according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which filed the lawsuit on the parish’s behalf, the new interpretation of the law effectively makes “it illegal for St Joseph to operate in accordance with the 2,000-year-old teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage and sexuality.”  It also poses a threat to St. Joseph’s “right to hire staff who will faithfully pass on the tenets of the faith to the next generation.”  And because the church welcomes the public to attend services and use its facilities, it could be “held liable for discrimination because of its sincere religious beliefs about gender and marriage.” 

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