North Dakota Can’t Be Forced To Cover Gender Transition

The Biden administration has no authority to force Christian employees and health care providers to pay for transgender surgeries and other gender affirming procedures, a federal judge in North Dakota ruled on Monday. In the case, which was brought forward by the Christian Employers Alliance in October 2021, the Biden administration’s interpretation of federal discrimination law was challenged.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Health and Human Services twisted discrimination law so that it would make it mandatory for every employer to cover transgender surgeries.

In his ruling, Judge Daniel Traynor for the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota said that religious liberty provisions protected the Christian groups from being compelled to provide “gender transition services.”

According to Traynor, the Christian Employers Alliance’s “religious beliefs are substantially burdened by the monetary penalties it faces for refusing to violate its beliefs.”

“Here, CEA’s sincerely held religious belief is that male and female are immutable realities defined by biological sex and that gender reassignment is contrary to Christian Values. As a result, performing or providing health care coverage for gender transition services under the EEOC and HHS coverage mandates impinges upon CEA’s beliefs,” Traynor wrote.

“CEA must either comply with the EEOC and HHS mandates by violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or else face harsh consequences like paying fines and facing civil liability. [But] religious freedom cannot be encumbered on a case-by-case basis,” he added.

Following the ruling, Christian Employers Alliance President Shannon Royce stated, “We are overjoyed our members will not have to choose between the biblically based employee benefits and quality healthcare they provide, and the threat of federal enforcement and massive costs for practicing their faith.”

Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the group, also celebrated the ruling, with ADF Senior Counsel and Director of Regulatory Practice Matt Bowman praising the judge’s decision.

“All employers and healthcare providers, including those in the Christian Employers Alliance, have the constitutionally protected freedom to conduct their business and render treatment in a manner consistent with their deeply held religious beliefs,” Bowman stated.

“The employers we represent believe that God purposefully created humans as either male or female, and so it would violate their religious beliefs to pay for or perform life-altering medical procedures or surgeries that seek to change one’s sex,” Bowman added.