NEWS PROVIDED BY
Sept. 16, 2022
BANGOR, Maine, Sept. 16, 2022 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Liberty Counsel filed
an appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in response to federal Judge Jon Levy's dismissal
of Alicia Lowe, et al., v. Janet Mills, et al
, involving Maine health care workers.
Liberty Counsel represents seven health care workers in Maine who have sincerely held religious beliefs that prevent them from accepting any of the COVID-19 injections because of the connections to aborted fetal cell lines and for other religious reasons that have been articulated to the defendants. Their lawsuit against Governor Janet Mills, health officials of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and five of the state's largest hospital systems, challenges the Maine law that requires employees of designated Maine health care facilities to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 shot.
Judge Levy stated there can be no accommodation for the plaintiffs since they only asked for an exemption. However, there cannot be an accommodation without an exemption. He stated to grant an exemption under Title VII would violate state law, so it is an undue hardship. That statement turns the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution on its head. Judge Levy does not dispute that the complaint stated a claim, which is the standard for a motion to dismiss, but he stated it would create an undue hardship to grant an exemption.
The Free Exercise Clause does not allow for discrimination between religious accommodations and medical accommodations. However, Judge Levy claims that distinguishing between religious accommodation and medical accommodations is irrelevant because the state has different interests in the two. He claims that the risk is different between the two. However, that is contrary to recent Supreme Court precedent involving COVID restrictions on places of worship and many other Supreme Court decisions.
Mills ordered employers to deny all religious exemptions and ignore the federal employment law known as Title VII that affords employees the right to request reasonable accommodation for their sincere religious beliefs.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, "Maine is required to abide by federal law and the First Amendment and cannot summarily dismiss employees who have sincerely held religious objections to the COVID shots. These heroes have already suffered irreparable harm by being forced to choose between their jobs and their sincerely held religious beliefs. Liberty Counsel will persevere on their behalf to fight this unlawful treatment."
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