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Major Cases That Could Make 2023 Another Big Year for Freedom

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December 30, 2022
Fli Insider | 2023

by Jorge Gomez • 5 min read

First Liberty is closing out 2022 on a high note, and we’re looking ahead to making next year another historic year for religious liberty in America. We have tremendous opportunities in front of us as the New Year starts—and we’re counting on your support to deliver victory in several major cases.

Heading into 2023, our legal team has already appealed two cases to the U.S. Supreme Court and it’s possible a response could come as early as the first week of January. This means the Court could announce whether it will hear oral argument or potentially issue a written decision in these vital cases:

Sweet Cakes by Melissa: State bureaucrats forced Aaron and Melissa Klein to shut down their Oregon bakery. They declined to create a custom cake for a same-sex wedding that would violate their religious beliefs and were hit with a devastating financial penalty. Restoring freedom for the Kleins could bring relief to countless Americans in the marketplace who face hostile treatment and the real threat of losing their business or their livelihood because of their beliefs.

Gerald Groff: U.S. postal worker Gerald Groff was wrongfully forced to quit because of his religious beliefs. We’re asking the Supreme Court to apply the law as written and require employers to grant meaningful religious accommodations. Winning Gerald’s case could have major implications for every religious person in the workplace.

What’s more, we’ll soon be presenting oral argument in our U.S. Navy SEALS case before the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The date is set for the first week of February.

Ever since the Biden administration and the Pentagon put in place the military vaccine mandate, they opted for a punitive and vindictive approach toward our men and women in uniform who requested legal, religious accommodation. Countless military heroes were mistreated, discriminated against, denied deployment and advancement opportunities, and even involuntarily separated, simply because they wanted to serve in a manner consistent with their beliefs.

Congress recently repealed the mandate, but thousands of military personnel are still being impacted. For example, the repeal does not reinstate service members who were discharged for refusing the vaccine. It also offers no solution for those whose careers were set back after asking for an accommodation.

That’s why First Liberty’s upcoming oral argument at the federal appeals court is so important. A favorable ruling for our Navy SEAL clients could be a major victory to help bring relief to thousands of religious service members.

More Cases Where Your Help is Needed

But those cases are just the beginning. We’re gearing up for multiple, critical legal battles in the New Year. Our fight continues for Americans including Lacey Smith, Robyn Strader, Ron Hittle and Valerie Kloosterman, who were all fired from their jobs because of their religious beliefs.

We also just filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of nurse practitioner Stephanie Carter against her employer, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which recently issued a new rule allowing elective abortions at VA medical clinics. Stephanie has religious objections to performing, prescribing, or counseling for abortions. She twice requested a religious accommodation, but was told that no process exists to review such requests.

We’re also fighting in federal appeals court on behalf of Cambridge Christian School, whose players were banned from praying over the loudspeaker before kickoff of its state championship football game.

All of the cases we have before us make this clear: even with so much success in 2022, the fight for religious freedom is far from over.

This year has been one of the most impactful years for our First Freedom, and we’re asking you to help us build on this momentum. God is opening doors so we can leave a legacy of freedom for the next generation, our children and grandchildren—and it’s up to US to make the most of these opportunities.

Now through December 31st, every dollar you give to First Liberty is multiplied by a special $400,000 Challenge Grant. You only have until the end of the year to take advantage of this special Challenge Grant. Your gift this December is critical and will help ensure we’re in a position to win these major legal battles heading into 2023.

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