Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:
- In Kluge v. Brownsburg Community School Corp., the Seventh Circuit rejected a school teacher’s Title VII challenge after she was fired because she refused, on religious grounds, to comply with the school’s policy of calling transgender students by their names registered in the school’s official database.
- An Arizona federal district court held a hearing in Arizona Christian University v. Washington Elementary School District. The university alleges that by terminating a student-teaching partnership between the university and the school district because of the university’s asserted religious beliefs, the school district violated the university students’ free exercise rights.
- In Bolonchuk v. Cherry Creek Nursing Center/ Nexion Health, a federal magistrate judge in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado recommended dismissal of a suit brought by a former nursing home healthcare employee who was terminated after she refused on religious grounds to comply with her employer’s Covid vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The court found that the employer did not violate the employee’s First Amendment rights because it was not a state actor
- In Hilo Bay Marina, LLC v. State of Hawaii, a Hawaii trial court found that a deed restriction requiring land to be used solely for church purposes did not violate the Establishment Clause, applying the Supreme Court’s “historical practices and understandings” test from Kennedy v. Bremerton School District.
- In Montgomery v. St. John’s United Church of Christ, the plaintiffs’ claims that they were sexually harassed by the lay leader of the church and subsequently terminated because they resisted the conduct was dismissed by an Ohio state appellate court. The court dismissed the plaintiffs’ hostile work environment claims because of the ministerial exception, which exempts religious institutions from federal employment discrimination laws.
- in Carrollton First United Methodist Church, Inc. v. Trustees of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, Inc., 185 Methodist churches filed suit in a Georgia state trial court against their parent body in an attempt to expedite their disaffiliation process amid an intra-faith dispute over same-sex marriage. The lawsuit alleges that the parent body is attempting to slow disaffiliation procedures so as to prevent disaffiliating congregations from keeping their real and personal property.