St. Johns church files lawsuit over civil rights protections

Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 6:50 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 12, 2022 at 11:50 PM EST
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ST. JOHNS, Mich. (WILX) - The Saint Joseph Parish in St. Johns wants to use its religious freedoms to make choices they feel are best for the Catholic church, but LGBTQ advocates said it would give the church the power to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

The Saint Joseph Parish in St. Johns is suing the Michigan Attorney General. The church said the state shouldn’t interfere with its religious beliefs.

Background: Diocese of Lansing parish files lawsuit against state Michigan Attorney General

“This goes to the core of why a church even exists. A church exists to hand on faith to its members to the Next Generation the first amendments the right of all religions to do that,” said William Haun a lawyer representing Saint Joseph Parish.

The church said it wants to protect its first amendment right to freedom of religion. Lawyers for the parish said it 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.

“Essential to Saint Joseph’s Mission, both as a parish and then as a school, is to maintain religious standards for its staff. It’s teachers, it’s families, it’s students,” said Haun.

However, there are members of the LGBTQ community like Connar Klock of Outfront Kalamazoo. He is not part of the lawsuit, but Klock said religious organizations need to be more open to people with different backgrounds.

“Queer people would like to have a place to a place to worship in as well and I think that’s necessary for all organizations,” Klock said.

Both communities said they want what’s best for their family and their own beliefs.

The Michigan Attorney General’s office said it could not comment on this case, because it has not seen the lawsuit yet.

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