Christmas has come early for some churches in Wisconsin after a judge has halted what an attorney describes as the "oppressive restriction" of a local ordinance.
The city of De Pere – a suburb of Green Bay – adopted an ordinance in November 2017 that labeled churches and religious organizations as "places of public accommodation," forcing them not to discriminate based on gender identity or same-sex relationships when it comes to their employees. But the Pacific Justice Institute, on behalf of five churches and a radio broadcaster in De Pere, filed a complaint before the ordinance took effect in March 2018.
Now a judge in Green Bay has declared that the ordinance cannot be applied to churches or other religious organizations – effective immediately. PJI president Brad Dacus spoke with OneNewsNow.
"This is a major victory for the autonomy and the rights of churches not to be forced by the government – under the umbrella of political correctness – to have to compromise what the Bible clearly teaches when it comes to sexual relationships and maintaining the gender identity that someone is born with," he explains.
With Christmas just around the corner, the judge's ruling on Friday (December 14) will permit churches to move ahead with programs and activities for the community without fear of the ordinance being enforced upon them. Dacus stresses the importance of challenging unconstitutional ordinances at the local level.
"While this is a clear and decisive victory for churches and ministries in the city of De Pere, we could see this kind of ordinance attempted in some other town of Wisconsin or outside Wisconsin," says the attorney. "Wherever a city adopts this kind of an ordinance, we are there to represent churches and to defend those churches in that community against this kind of outrageous anti-religious freedom tyranny."
According to PJI, if the ordinance had survived, De Pere would have been the first in America to deem churches places of public accommodation.