Four churches have come forward in left-leaning Massachusetts to argue their First Amendment rights trump a new state law barring discrimination against transgenders.
The churches filed a federal lawsuit this week against the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination and its so-called "spaghetti supper" test that defines what church activities fall under the new law passed in July.
The churches named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Horizon Christian Fellowship, Abundant Life Church, House of Destiny Ministries, and Faith Christian Fellowship in Haverhill.
Much like a lawsuit filed in July in Iowa, Massachusetts is using the law to claim churches fall under "public accommodation" rules that subject them to the same homosexual-friendly rules that businesses are now subjected to.
The commission announced regulations in September that included "Gender Identity Guidance for Public Accomodation," which states that churches are places of public accomodation.
Massachusetts is famous for being home to Puritan congregations in the early 1600s, who were Protestants that broke away from the Church of England and settled in New England.
The Pilgrims were among the most famous of the Puritan colonists.
Yet the site of the "Great Migration" from England is now considered the most liberal state in the union.
"Religious liberty is the cornerstone upon which our country was founded," says Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christiana Holcomb. "And if churches don't have First Amendment freedoms, I'm not sure who does."
Meanwhile, the state commission disagrees. It claims that the new law applies to churches, Holcomb says, and also claims the right to determine if a church activity is a public event that is "secular" in nature.
In addition to fighting the "public accommodation" claims from the state, ADF is also fighting language in the law.
Holcomb and ADF also point out that the new law prohibits any statements that "discriminate" or that "incite" others to discriminate, which ADF warns is a backdoor attempt to prevent churches and pastors from expressing religious views about sexuality.