Bostock marches on
Religious Liberty | Courts continue to extend transgender ideology
by Steve West
Posted 9/05/20, 11:48 am
When the U.S. Supreme Court said in June that a federal civil rights law prohibiting discrimination “on the basis of sex” covered gender identity and sexual orientation, the justices insisted their reasoning only applied to the context before them: employment. But as Justice Samuel Alito predicted in his dissent, the decision in Bostock v. Clayton County is already having “far-reaching consequences” in other areas.
On Wednesday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., blocked rules offering conscience protections to religious healthcare organizations and workers. Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel John Bursch said the ruling “may mean that doctors and other health professionals are forced to violate their religious beliefs and professional oaths to advance gender ideology.”
Regulations instituted under the Affordable Care Act sometimes required healthcare providers to participate in procedures that violated their faith, such as gender-reassignment surgery. The Trump administration restored religious exemptions to the ACA nondiscrimination rules to protect the consciences of religious healthcare workers. But U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled there was “no apparent reason” why the reasoning from Bostock should only apply to employment and overturned the conscience protections.
Whether in the workplace, the sports field, or public restrooms, other courts seem headed toward demanding the acceptance of transgender ideology.
U.S. District Judge David Nye cited Bostock on Aug. 17 when he struck down Idaho’s law prohibiting men who identify as women from competing in women’s sports. A week later, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the restroom usage rules of a Virginia school board discriminated against a transgender high school student who goes by the name Gavin Grimm. “After the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, we have little difficulty holding that a bathroom policy precluding Grimm from using the boys restrooms discriminated against him ‘on the basis of sex,’” the court said.
In its Bostock ruling, the Supreme Court said it wanted to preserve “the free exercise of religion enshrined in our Constitution.” The justices will soon have an opportunity to make good on that statement. In November, they will hear Fulton vs. City of Philadelphia, asking whether Catholic Social Services can continue to contract with the city to place foster children while declining to work with same-sex couples in accordance with its religious beliefs. It may be the term’s most consequential decision.
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