Multiple churches in the state of Massachusetts on Tuesday filed [press release] a motion [text, pdf] in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts [official website] for a preliminary injunction due to their express religious objection to recent non-discrimination policies. At issue are Massachusetts Law 92A [text] and 98 [text] that prohibit distinction, discrimination or restriction based on gender identity. The churches hold that their sincerely held religious beliefs are being infringed upon by the current law, which makes bathrooms and other facilities inclusive to transgender identified individuals by allowing entry based on gender identity and not biological sex. The churches are also concerned about the wording of the statute that prevents incitement and discrimination.
Churches and their Pastors want to communicate the Bible’s teaching about biological sex in sermons, speeches, and other public statements. Destiny and Abundant Life also want to publish their changing room and restroom policies to their members and the public on
their Facebook pages and as an insert in its their weekly Sunday morning bulletins to ensure that
their policies are consistently observed. And the Pastors want to publicly speak their beliefs
about human sexuality without being accused of aiding or inciting discrimination. But the
publication ban and conspiracy provision prohibit this constitutionally-protected speech in
violation of the First Amendment
The right to include gender identity as a protected characteristic is still a contested legal issue. Three transgender students in the Pine-Richland school district in Western Pennsylvania filed suit [JURISt report] Thursday against the school district for their decision to implement gender specific restrooms. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal [JURIST Report] in September to withdraw a lawsuit in which the state sought a judgment declaring that the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act [text, PDF], also known as House Bill 2 (HB 2), did not violate federal law. A transgender non-citizen from Mexico filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] also in September against Indiana Governor Mike Pence and two other state officials over Indiana’s law that prevents non-citizens from changing their names.