Judge: Employers Don't Have To Cover HIV Meds If They Oppose 'Homosexual Behavior'

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A national judge successful Texas ruled Friday that requiring employers to supply sum for PrEP medications ― which forestall the transmission of HIV ― violates the spiritual rights of employers nether national law.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor said that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act provides a spiritual exemption from purchasing wellness security that complies with the Department of Health and Human Services’ preventive attraction mandate nether the Affordable Care Act, which requires PrEP coverage.

O’Connor said the government indispensable supply this spiritual exemption to 8 defendants ― six individuals and 2 businesses ― who assertion that being required to supply specified security sum violates their “sincerely held” Christian and “non-religious” beliefs rejecting “homosexual behavior, intravenous cause use, and intersexual enactment extracurricular of matrimony betwixt 1 antheral and 1 woman.”

By requiring them to supply security that covers PrEP, arsenic good arsenic the HPV vaccine and enactment education, the authorities “would marque [them] complicit successful those behaviors,” O’Connor concluded.

Here’s a transcript of O’Connor’s 42-page determination successful the lawsuit, Kelley v. Becerra.

The Texas justice went connected to accidental that courts indispensable enactment spiritual exemptions from national argumentation mandates if a person’s spiritual content is “sincerely held,” citing Supreme Court precedents successful its 2014 Hobby Lobby decision and its 2020 determination successful Little Sisters of the Poor. Both of those decisions authorized spiritual exemptions to contraception mandates successful the Affordable Care Act.

For this reason, O’Connor determined, the authorities whitethorn not question whether it is factually close that paying for sum that includes PrEP subsidizes “homosexual conduct.”

The authorities “may not ‘tell the plaintiffs that their beliefs are flawed’ due to the fact that the transportation betwixt the morally objectionable behaviour and complicity successful the behaviour ‘is simply excessively attenuated,’” helium wrote, citing the Hobby Lobby decision.

Beyond that, O’Connor declared the Preventive Services Task Force ― the authorities assemblage that recommended the preventive attraction mandate rules for PrEP sum ― an illegally appointed assemblage successful usurpation of the Appointments Clause.

O’Connor, an appointee of erstwhile President George W. Bush, is known arsenic a favourite among blimpish lawyers due to the fact that helium tends to regularisation against Democratic policies. Attorneys wide successful Texas look to strategically record cardinal lawsuits successful his jurisdiction truthful he’ll perceive them.

A fig of his rulings person been reversed connected appeal.

In 2018, O’Connor ruled that the full Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional, a determination that 1 ineligible adept described astatine the clip arsenic “insanity successful print.” His determination was reversed connected appeal successful 2020, and the Supreme Court upheld the law a twelvemonth later.

In 2015, O’Connor barred the Department of Labor from instantly enforcing a caller regularisation granting Family and Medical Leave Act benefits to same-sex couples. He argued that the nationalist had “an abiding interest” successful protecting authorities laws from “federal encroachment.” But helium soon dissolved his injunction aft the Supreme Court’s ruling successful Obergefell v. Hodges, which cemented the cardinal close to wed for same-sex couples.

O’Connor’s different decisions of enactment see his 2015 ruling that portion of the national Gun Control Act of 1968 was unconstitutional (this was reversed connected appeal); his 2018 ruling that the Indian Child Welfare Act was unconstitutional (the Supreme Court is revisiting this instrumentality successful November); and his 2021 ruling that the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act connection an exemption to employers from the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition connected enactment discrimination.

Earlier this year, O’Connor temporarily blocked the Pentagon from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine request for Navy SEALs, claiming the national authorities has “no license” to infringe connected the freedoms of SEALs. His preliminary injunction was partially upheld by the Supreme Court successful March.

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