LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A federal judge has dismissed a challenge to a Michigan law protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination.
Judge Jane Beckering of the U.S. Western District Court rejected claims by Christian Healthcare Centers, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish and St. Joseph Parish St. Johns the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act violated constitutional religious freedoms.
Alliance Defending Freedom filed notices of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. The group claims its mission “advances the God-given right to live and speak the Truth. We contend for the Truth in law, policy, and the public square, and equip the alliance to do the same.”
The groups contend Michigan laws unconstitutionally require religious organizations to hire employees who don’t share their beliefs and prevents them from serving their communities consistent with their beliefs. The two appeals were filed on behalf of Christian Healthcare Centers, a Michigan faith-based medical nonprofit, and, in a separate case, on behalf of a Catholic school run by Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, a Grand Rapids-based parish, and several of the school’s families.
Beckering was appointed to the bench by President Joe Biden in 2021.
The Court held in each case that these entities did not establish standing to maintain their lawsuits where the ELCRA already requires consideration of religious freedoms and there is no imminent threat that the ELCRA will be enforced against them. The Court concluded that the ELCRA does not facially fail “to recognize religious freedoms,” according to a release from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
“I am pleased that Judge Beckering has consistently recognized that the plaintiffs’ cases were unsupported by facts,” Nessel said. “Under Michigan law, religious freedoms are already taken into consideration under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act when assessing discrimination claims. Our state’s residents can rest assured that Michigan’s recently enacted protections for the LGBTQ+ community will be enforced to the fullest extent as the constitution permits.”