(The Center Square) – Even though a federal judge dismissed a religious freedom case that lasted for nearly two years, attorneys representing Navy SEALs, Marines and other military service members and personnel "are never giving up on them," Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver told The Center Square. 

"Memorial Day is a good reminder of the sacrifice these men and women and their families have made," he said. "How they've been treated by the Biden administration is shameful and appalling. And as hard as they've fought for us, we will continue to fight for them."

On May 17, Judge Steven Merryday, presiding over the U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida Tampa Division, dismissed Liberty Counsel's class action lawsuit against the Secretary of Defense. Liberty Counsel is still pursuing attorney fees and costs, working with plaintiffs to determine how they can help them address losses they've suffered as a result of the mandate, including those who were punished, demoted and discharged after their religious accommodation request (RAR) exemptions were denied.

It's also arranging for service members to meet with Congress and is urging lawmakers to implement measures to provide the opportunity for those discharged to be reinstated and to restore the records of those who were demoted or disciplined after their RARs were denied, Staver told The Center Square. 

The lawsuit stemmed from an August 24, 2021, Secretary of Defense memo mandating that all military service members and personnel receive the COVID-19 vaccine or be discharged. By October 2021, Liberty Counsel sued on behalf of members representing the branches of the military, federal employees and federal civilian contractors. The court later argued were unlawfully mandated to take an experimental drug or be fired. Liberty Counsel's clients filed RAR exemptions to the mandate, and none were granted. 

What followed was a lengthy process and a federal judge chastising the heads of military branches for their blanket refusal to grant RARs in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. By January 2022, over 21,300 RARs were provided to the court, with zero exemptions granted. 

Judge Merryday, who granted class status, said in a ruling last September, "the record reveals the substantial likelihood of a systemic failure by the Marine Corps to discharge the obligations established by RFRA."

Originally published on thecentersquare.com, part of the BLOX Digital Content Exchange.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.