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Community Advocacy Organization

Mid-Michigan Church is at the center of a legal clash between Religious rights and LGBTQ rights

A Catholic church in St. Johns has filed suit against Michigan’s Attorney General. The church, Saint Joseph Parish, says current state law infringes on its religious freedoms, inhibiting its ability to make choices in line with church doctrine.

LGBTQ advocates disagree. They say striking down the current interpretation of Michigan’s Civil Rights law would give the church the power to discriminate based on sexual orientation. In a 5-2 ruling in July of this year, the Michigan Supreme Court said the word “sex” in Michigan’s civil rights law applies to sexual orientation and not just gender.

The St. Johns parish says it wants to protect its first amendment right to freedom of religion. Lawyers for the parish say the church shouldn’t be forced to conduct same-sex weddings or allow people to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender in which they identify if it’s not their sex at birth.

It is indeed possible this case could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court. With a solid conservative majority on the high court -- one that has tended to side with religious rights over gay rights – there’s a definite chance Saint Joseph’s parish will eventually prevail.

Stay tuned.

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