From Ann Arbor, Michigan:
Jul 24, 2013 / 08:04 pm
Michael and Shaun Willis and their Michigan-based law firm filed a lawsuit seeking to have the HHS mandate declared a violation of the Constitution and of federal law over religious liberty concerns.
“That our own government is knowingly displaying such a lack of tolerance for faithful Christians is outrageous,” Erin Mersino, a lawyer at the Thomas More Law Center, and the lead attorney on the case, stated July 24.
“The HHS mandate must be ruled unconstitutional or there will be no end to the federal government’s intrusion on the religious liberties of Christians.”
Michael Willis is Catholic, and Shaun is Protestant. The brothers operate their firm in a way that reflects the teachings and values of the Christian faith. Both gravely object to providing abortion and abortion-causing drugs in their employees’ insurance coverage, as required by the federal contraception mandate.
The mandate was issued under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and its final rules on religious freedom accommodations, which were found unacceptable by the U.S. bishops, were released June 28.
The suit was filed in the U.S. district court for the District of Columbia July 24, and lists the secretaries of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor, as well as their departments, as defendants.
Because the mandate forces employers and individuals to violate their consciences and their religious beliefs, the suit argues that it is a violation of the Willis’ rights to free exercise of religion and freedom of speech under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.
“The Mandate … subverts the expression of Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs” the suit argues, by forcing them to “fund, promote, and assist others to acquire services which Plaintiffs believe involve gravely immoral practices, including the destruction of innocent human life.” …
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