Gender transition insurance rules blocked amid challenge from Christian groups

The seal of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is seen at its offices in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Request to force Christian employers to violate religious beliefs, judge says
  • Agency says refusal to report gender transition is discrimination
  • Judge blocks application against Christian group and its members

(Reuters) – A federal judge in North Dakota blocked two federal agencies from forcing a Christian business group and its members to provide employees with health insurance for a gender transition process.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Trainer in Bismarck said Regulations passed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last year to apply to most health insurance plans on Monday will force the Christian Employers Coalition (CEA) and its members to violate their religious beliefs, causing irreparable damage. Injuried.

“If plaintiffs and their members are forced to comply or refuse to comply, they will face very real and irreparable harm,” the judge wrote.

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Traynor has temporarily blocked the EEOC and HHS from enforcing regulations against the CEA and its members, pending the outcome of the group’s October lawsuit against the agency.

Jacob Reed of Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian legal organization representing the CEA, a statement Traynor has firm reasons to block enforcement of the regulations.

“Employers we represent believe that God intentionally created human beings as male or female and therefore it would be against their religious beliefs to pay or perform life-altering medical procedures or surgeries designed to change a person’s biological sex,” Reed said.

The EEOC and HHS deferred comment to the U.S. Justice Department, which did not immediately respond.

HHS faces doctors in Texas and Tennessee for offering the agency’s regulations Health care providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid are required to perform a gender transition process.

The federal Affordable Care Act prohibits health insurance plans from engaging in discrimination, including gender bias.US Supreme Court in 2020 cases Bostock v. Clayton County It is considered unlawful sex discrimination to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The EEOC and HHS said last year that they interpreted the ACA as requiring employer health insurance plans to cover surgery and other procedures related to gender transition.

The Washington-based CEA sued the agencies last year, claiming their interpretation of the law violated the rights of religious employers under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

The organization’s charter states that “men and women are immutable realities defined by biological sex” and that “gender reassignment is contrary to Christian values.”

The case is Christian Employers Coalition v. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. District Court, North Dakota, No. 1:21-cv-00195.

For CEA: Julie Black and Jacob Reed of the Alliance for Defending Liberty

For the agency: Jeremy Newman of the U.S. Department of Justice

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