Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Churches Sue For Exemptions From City's Employment Non-Discrimination Ordinance

A Texas-based organization of churches has filed suit against the city of Austin claiming that the city's non-discrimination ordinance violates member churches' federal and state constitutional rights and Texas' Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The complaint (full text) in U.S. Pastor Council v. City of Austin, (WD TX, filed 10/6/2018), contends that the Austin ordinance which bans employment discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity infringes the rights of churches that will not hire women as senior pastors or which will not hire practicing homosexuals or transgendered individuals for any church position.  The only religious exemptions set out in the Austin ordinance are for religious institutions' hiring on the basis of religion.  The complaint declares that objecting churches "rely on the Bible rather than modern-day cultural fads for religious and moral guidance." KXAN News reports on the decision.