In a big win for religious liberty, Trump-appointed District Judge Daniel M. Traynor of the U.S. District Court of North Dakota blocked the Biden administration this week from enforcing a rule that would have required religious employers and health care providers to fund or perform gender experimentation.
“No government agency ought to be in the business of evaluating the sincerity of another’s religious beliefs,” Traynor wrote in his opinion.
The ruling in favor of the Christian Employers Alliance temporarily prevents federal agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services from punishing nonprofit and for-profit employers for refusing to underwrite chemical castration, genital mutilation, and radical gender counseling due to religious conviction.
Traynor agreed with the Christian Employers Alliance that the Biden administration’s requirements for employers who take issue with paying for dangerous, disfiguring procedures for children as young as newborns put “a substantial burden” on the organization and its leaders’ constitutional rights.
“HHS Guidance encourages a parent to file a complaint if a medical provider refuses to gender transition their child, of any age, including an infant,” the judge noted. “The thought that a newborn child could be surgically altered to change gender is the result of the Biden HHS Notification and HHS Guidance that brands a medical professional’s refusal to do so as discrimination. Indeed, the HHS Guidance specifically invites the public to file complaints for acting in a manner the Alliance says is consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Traynor also condemned the Biden administration’s sweeping attempt to limit medical professionals from “evaluating what is best” for patients struggling with gender dysphoria by labeling refusal to conduct procedures as “discrimination.”
“Beyond the religious implications, the Biden HHS Notification and resulting HHS Guidance frustrate the proper care of gender dysphoria, where even among adults who experience the condition, a diagnosis occurs following the considered involvement of medical professionals,” Traynor continued. “By branding the consideration as ‘discrimination,’ the HHS prohibits the medical profession from evaluating what is best for the patient in what is certainly a complex mental health question.”
Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the Christian Employers Alliance in court, celebrated the judge’s decision.
“All employers and health care providers, including those in the Christian Employers Alliance, have the constitutional right to conduct their business and render treatment in a manner consistent with their deeply held religious beliefs,” legal counsel Jacob Reed said in a statement. “…The court was on firm ground to halt enforcement of these unlawful mandates that disrespect people of faith.”