Alliance Defending Freedom Asks Court to Reconsider Challenge to Virginia Values Act


The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) wants the Loudoun County Circuit Court to reconsider its decision to dismiss a legal challenge to the Virginia Values Act. On Friday, the ADF filed a Motion to Reconsider Calvary Road Baptist Church v. Herring, a lawsuit that claims the VVA and an associated insurance law violate constitutionally-protected freedoms through hiring non-discrimination laws.

The ADF argues that the organizations are already suffering harm because they risk fines up to $100,000 per violation of the law.

“The Virginia Values Act, enacted in July 2020, compels churches, religious schools, and Christian ministries to hire employees who do not share their beliefs on marriage, sexuality, and gender identity – and even bans them from publishing their biblical beliefs on these topics,” an ADF press release explains. “A companion law requires the ministries and others like them to include in employee health care plans coverage for sex reassignment and ‘gender affirming’ surgeries that run contrary to their beliefs. It also prohibits the ministries from offering sex-specific Bible studies and youth activities.”

The court dismissed the challenge since there hadn’t yet been any infringement against the churches and schools in the suit. Still, the judge emphasized that the dismissal was due to a problem with the standing, not the merits of the case. In the Friday filing, the ADF argues that recent federal appellate cases have recognized the ability to file cases in similar situations.

The motion filed Friday cites a decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis: “In a pre-enforcement challenge to Colorado’s similar anti-discrimination law, the Tenth Circuit held that a website designer had standing because she and her company faced ‘a credible threat Colorado [would] prosecute them under that statute.’ The court reached that conclusion though the plaintiffs did ‘not yet offer wedding-related services,’ but merely ‘intend[ed] to do so in the future.’ That intent was enough because the plaintiffs’ ‘potential liability [was] inherent in the manner they intend[ed] to operate – excluding customers who celebrate same-sex marriages.'”

ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle said, “We hope the court will recognize from the new information we have submitted that it has the ability to allow this case to proceed so that Virginia communities can continue to benefit greatly from the services provided by churches and faith-based schools and nonprofits. 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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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Calvary Road Baptist Church” by Alliance Defending Freedom.





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