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Judge Rules in Favor of NY Health Workers Seeking Religious Exemptions to COVID Shots

Thomas More Society : Oct 13, 2021

The preliminary injunction prevents the state from enforcing a vaccine mandate.

[] On October 12, US District Judge David N. Hurd granted a preliminary injunction to 17 medical health professionals who hold religious objections to the COVID-19 vaccines. (Image: Pixabay)

The statewide injunction prevents New York from enforcing employers' compliance with a "vaccine mandate," issued August 26. That mandate excludes exemptions for religious reasons while allowing exemptions for medical reasons. Thomas More Society attorneys initially filed for federal court relief from this discrimination and constitutional violation on September 14.

Judge Hurd's decision holds that the health professionals are likely to succeed at trial on their claim that the mandate unlawfully forecloses the remedy of religious accommodation afforded under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. In a major victory for religious liberty in the face of what attorneys have labeled "draconian COVID-19 regimes," Hurd further held that the mandate also likely violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment because it is not a neutral law, but rather allows medical exemptions while precluding religious exemptions.

The mandate fails the legal requirement of "narrow tailoring" of non-neutral laws that impact religion because New York failed to show that less restrictive means, such as the use of personal protective equipment, were not sufficient to address the alleged "compelling interest" in limiting the spread of COVID-19. The court further noted that the mandate omitted a religious exemption that, only days before, was present in the mandate's previous version, and that other states have mandated vaccination in certain circumstances without denying the possibility of religious exemptions... Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

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