A federal judge in North Dakota has temporarily blocked HHS and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from requiring the Christian Employers Alliance and its members to provide health plans that cover employees' gender transition procedures.
The U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota ruled May 16 that the requirement adopted in 2021 by the two federal agencies applying to most health plans would force the Christian group and its members to violate their religious beliefs and cause irreparable injury.
The Affordable Care Act bans health plans from discriminating on the basis of sex. The Supreme Court ruled in the 2020 case Bostock v. Clayton County that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is a form of sex discrimination.
HHS and the EEOC said last year they interpreted the ACA as requiring employer health plans to cover surgeries and other procedures related to gender transitions.
"The Plaintiffs and their members face a very real irreparable harm if they are either forced to comply or if they refuse to comply," Judge Daniel Traynor said.
Mr. Traynor issued a temporary injunction against the EEOC and HHS from enforcing the coverage requirements against the plaintiffs and its members, pending the outcome of the lawsuit filed by the group in October against the two agencies.