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Massachusetts churches claim victory in religious freedom lawsuit


Church pews. Photo credit: Elena Dijour Shutterstock CNA

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Washington D.C., Dec 15, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Four Massachusetts churches pulled their lawsuit against the state Monday after they received religious exemptions from the state's transgender law.

“The government can’t encroach on the internal, religious practices of a church. The language revisions that our lawsuit prompted should ensure that doesn’t happen,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Steve O’Ban stated on Monday, after the lawsuit was withdrawn.

“The comments of commonwealth officials gave these churches reason for great concern, and so we are pleased wording changes have been made to respect the constitutionally protected freedoms these congregations and pastors have,” he added.

In July, Massachusetts added “gender identity” to its list of classes protected against discrimination.

Then, the state’s attorney general and its anti-discrimination commission interpreted the law to say that everyone had to have access to facilities like bathrooms based upon the gender they presently identify with, and not upon their birth gender.

Church facilities that held any non-religious events like spaghetti dinners would be considered public accommodations and would have to comply, they said, despite their religious beliefs.

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