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Appeal likely in faith-based clinic challenge to LGBTQ+ rights law

scales on a table
Elena Mozhvilo

A faith-based health care clinic will continue to pursue its legal challenge to Michigan’s LGBTQ+ rights law after losing this week in a US district court.

The lawsuit filed by Christian Healthcare Centers, located near Grand Rapids, was dismissed by a federal judge.

U.S. District Court Judge Jane Beckering said the medical center failed to show that its operations were disrupted by Michigan’s LGBTQ+ rights policies. The decision said that left the clinic without a real-life controversy to resolve.

But Hal Frampton, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom representing the clinic, said the harm is the fear of legal action under Michigan’s LGBTQ rights policies including the recent expansionof the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

“We think there’s more than sufficient threat here to tee up the issue for a court to make a decision and give our client the protection they need,” he told Michigan Public Radio.

“We simply don’t see anything in the law that would allow our clients to practice their ministry in a way that is consistent with their religious faith,” he said. “So. we think the court was wrong about that, Our client absolutely has a right to challenge this unjust law and Michigan has never disavowed enforcing the law against them.”

Frampton said the next step might be asking the district court to reconsider its decision or going directly to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

A spokesperson for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the state is ready to defend the civil rights law and the federal court ruling.

“We are confident in the court’s decision,” Kimberly Bush said. “If an appeal is filed, we will respond accordingly in our pleadings.”

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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