This week's edition of The 3, featuring three recent stories of relevance to the Christian community, including news of a federal judge's ruling protecting medical professionals from being forced to perform surgeries that presume to change a person's biological sex. Also, a piece of legislation designed to protect same-sex marriage that also infringes on religious liberties has crossed the 60-vote threshold to move forward in the U.S. Senate. And, a local judge in the state of Georgia has struck down that state's pro-life heartbeat bill, saying that when the Legislature passed it, Roe v. Wade had not yet been overturned.
Judge rules Title IX cannot be used to force gender surgeries
Title IX is the 50-year-old law preventing discrimination based on sex. There continue to be attempts to expand the definition of "sex" in that law to include gender identity and sexual orientation. Section 1557 is a provision of the Affordable Care Act that prevents discrimination regarding medical services.
The Christian Post reported recently, regarding the Department of Health and Human Services...
In May 2021, the HHS announced that it was going to interpret Title IX’s explicit prohibition on sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Under the new interpretation, the HHS Office for Civil Rights would enforce Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to protect “the civil rights of individuals who access or seek to access covered health programs or activities” and stop discrimination “against consumers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
So, basically, it would appear that Section 1557 would be interpreted to force medical professionals to perform gender-change surgeries. And, a Federal judge has said, "no" in a case involving two doctors who had filed a lawsuit. The Christian Post article from last week said:
The case centered on two Texas physicians who filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Notification of Interpretation and Enforcement of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which interpreted Title IX’s definition of sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
The physicians sued, arguing that the Notification forced them to provide services such as body-mutilating surgeries on people suffering from gender dysphoria, such as castration and double mastectomies, and that it violated federal administrative procedures.
In a decision released Friday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division, ruled that “Title IX operates in binary terms — male and female — when it references ‘on the basis of sex.’”
Respect for Marriage Act moves forward in the U.S. Senate
On Wednesday, the so-called "Respect for Marriage Act" crossed a critical threshold, acquiring 60+ votes in order to move the bill forward. Combined with the approval already given by the House, this bill, known as H.R. 8404, not only has placed the principles of the Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling into legislation, but poses a serious threat to religious liberty.
The Daily Citizen quoted from Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the Family, who stated:
Instead of respecting marriage, H.R. 8404 further unravels the historic, cross-cultural and biblical definition of marriage as the life-long, covenantal relationship between a husband and wife.
This measure goes far beyond the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, as it enshrines “same-sex marriage” into federal law.
The article notes that:
The Senate moved forward an amended version of the bill, with supposed protections for religious freedom. But Daly said those protections weren’t enough, explaining that the measure only protects religious organizations or people who perform marriages.Alliance Defending Freedom issued a statement, which included these words from CEO, President, and General Counsel Kristen Waggoner:
Today, the Senate chose to fuel hostility toward Americans who hold beliefs about marriage rooted in honorable religious or philosophical premises. This bill, which provides no protection or benefits that same-sex couples don’t already share, deceptively gives lip service to religious liberty while undermining the First Amendment freedoms that belong to each of us. …
It is shameful that 62 senators chose to ignore the Constitution and sanction discrimination toward these Americans. Make no mistake, this bill will be used by officials and activists to punish and ruin those who do not share the government’s view on marriage.
Judge strikes down Georgia heartbeat bill
In 2019, the Georgia Legislature passed and Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill that banned abortion beginning at the time that a heartbeat is detected in the pre-born child, generally thought to be at about 6 to 7 weeks. A CBN News online report said that the bill "had been blocked from taking effect until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that had legalized abortion nationwide for nearly 50 years." It added: "The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had allowed Georgia to begin enforcing its abortion law just over three weeks after the high court's decision in June."But a Superior Court Judge in Fulton County, which is where Atlanta is located, has struck down that bill, according to the article, which says that Judge Robert McBurney "...ruled that the law which took effect in 2019 was invalid because Roe v. Wade had not yet been struck down. McBurney did leave the door open for the legislature to revisit the ban."