A physician assistant has sued the University of Michigan Medical Center for firing her after she sought a religious exemption to refer patients for gender transition procedures and medication.
Filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan on Tuesday, the lawsuit claims that Michigan Health violated Valerie Kloosterman’s First Amendment rights by firing her last year.
“Given her beliefs about human sexuality, Ms Kloosterman thinks it would be a sin to prescribe or give referrals for ‘puberty blockers’, ‘hormone therapy’ or ‘sex reassignment surgery’, whatever medical benefit these drugs and procedures might provide,” the complaint states. “She believes the same with respect to the use of biology-obscuring pronouns.”
Although Ms. Kloosterman avoided using transgender and gender-nonconforming pronouns, the complaint notes that she called patients by their first names and “never used pronouns that were against the wishes of the patient.” ‘a patient”.
Citing First Amendment and civil rights laws, the lawsuit seeks damages for lost wages and an injunction to prevent future firings.
Health system officials did not respond to an email seeking comment.
According to court documents, Michigan Health asked Ms Kloosterman to complete an LGBTQ+ training module between May and June 2021.
The training asked her to tick boxes affirming statements about sexual orientation and gender identity that she said contradicted her biblical belief in two biological sexes.
Ms. Kloosterman, a member of the United Reformed Church, decided to take the training and meet separately with her superiors to raise her concerns.
After meeting twice with Michigan Health’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion managers to request a religious exemption, she received a notice of dismissal on August 24, 2021. Ten days later, she received a letter confirming the reasons for his dismissal.
The complaint states that “no complaints were ever made about her performance” in Ms Kloosterman’s 17 years on the job. He also accuses the hospital of pulling double standards by granting exemptions from various medical procedures to other employees for non-religious reasons.
She is represented in the case by attorneys from the First Liberty Institute, a Texas-based Christian law firm.
“It is patently intolerant of Michigan Health to require medical professionals like Valerie to give up their religious beliefs in order to remain employed,” said First Liberty attorney Kayla Toney.