A group of five churches and a Christian radio station have filed a lawsuit challenging a new City of De Pere anti-discrimination ordinance that’s set to go into effect Thursday.
The ordinance passed by the city council in November prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, along with factors such as age, race, marital status, or religion. The measure is intended to “protect the health, safety and general welfare of all inhabitants of the city.”
The five churches — Hope Lutheran, Crosspoint, Destiny, St. Mark Lutheran, and Christ the Rock, along with Lakeshore Communications (operators of Q90FM), filed suit last week, challenging the ordinance.
“Unlike many of its counterparts in other state, local and federal law, the De Pere ordinance does not clearly exempt religious organizations,” the suit argues. “As a result, the ordinance is likely to be imposed on churches and other religious organizations in a manner that would mandate government orthodoxy in core religious functions, communication, and conduct.”
The plaintiffs are asking for a declaration that the ordinance does not apply to them, or that it be ruled unconstitutional.
The city has a forum planned for Tuesday evening about the ordinance.