Judge dismisses Christian groups fighting Virginia anti-LGBTQ law

Thu. July 22, 2021 4:50 PM by Gerald Farinas

loudon county courthouse in virginia

photo credit // karen nutini

They say their religious liberty rights are being taken away

A group of Christian organizations argue that the Virginia Values Act, which adds lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons as a protected class under the state Human Rights Act, will fundamentally take away their religious liberties.

The complainants are represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, the same group that represented a Washington state florist who did not want to sell floral arrangements to a gay couple for their wedding.

They argued before Circuit Court Judge James Plowman of Loudon County that the law would force them to employ and provide services to people who do not share their religious beliefs. Furthermore, providing insurance to those who don't share their religious beliefs would mean they would be funding abortions.

Judge Plowman said he could not rule in their favor because he did not have jurisdiction over the State Corporation Commission, one of the parties responsible for enforcing the law.

Also, the parties to the case, Calvary Road Baptist Church, Community Fellowship Church, Community Christian Academy, and anti-abortion group Care Net never had the law used against them in enforcement action.

He dismissed their case.

Alliance Defending Freedom said that the dismissal is unfair and that Judge Plowman could rule in their favor.

"Americans have the right to challenge unjust laws," they said in a statement. "We don't have to wait for the punishment."

If they appeal, the case would likely go before the state Supreme Court.