Ft. Worth, TX—Today, First Liberty Institute amended its lawsuit on behalf of dozens of U.S. Navy SEALs to seek a class action that includes all U.S. Navy personnel who have requested a religious accommodation from the Navy’s vaccine mandate. Earlier this month, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction, stopping the Department of Defense from punishing Navy SEALs and Naval Special Warfare personnel who have religious objections to the Department’s vaccine mandate. If approved, the class action will protect every U.S. Navy service member who requested a religious accommodation from the vaccine mandate.
You can read the first amended class action complaint here.
“Our clients are boldly leading the fight against the vaccine mandate, but no service member should face discipline or punishment for following their faith,” said Mike Berry, General Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “The fact that the military continues to demonstrate hostility to anyone who expresses religious objection to the vaccine mandate shows that the Biden Administration does not care about religious freedom. The lawsuit seeks to protect as many service members as possible from further punishment. We have to put a stop to this before any more harm is done to our national security.”
In his preliminary injunction order earlier this month, Judge Reed O’Connor said, “The Navy service members in this case seek to vindicate the very freedoms they have sacrificed so much to protect. The COVID-19 pandemic provides the government no license to abrogate those freedoms. There is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment. There is no military exclusion from our Constitution.”
First Liberty attorneys argue that the Department of Defense is violating the First Amendment to the Constitution, federal law, and Department of Defense regulations. The vaccine mandate substantially burdens service members’ free exercise of religion, and the Department of Defense has failed to prove it has a compelling government interest, or that there are no less restrictive ways to further its effort to mitigate the Covid-19 virus.
SOURCE First Liberty Institute
PHOTO CREDIT: U.S. Navy