Judge Steven Merryday has granted a temporary restraining order to stop the Department of Defense from ordering a U.S. Marine first lieutenant's administrative separation and eviction from his home for merely requesting that his sincere religious convictions be respected.
"We found out about our first lieutenant plaintiff who was given two days' notice that he would be separated from the Marine Corps and would have to leave his on-base housing because appeal of the denial of his religious accommodation was denied," details Roger Gannam, assistant vice president of legal affairs for Liberty Counsel, the firm representing the officer in question.
Liberty Counsel details that the military has forced the first lieutenant, who is a supply officer with the U.S. Marine Corps Expeditionary Force, to choose between his religious beliefs and the COVID shot. In addition, the military threatened him with only two days' notice for discharge from the Marine Corps and ordered him to remove himself, his wife, and his two minor children from Camp Pendleton by August 5, 2022.
Gannam says it was unreasonable for the Marine Corps to have given him such short notice.
Liberty Counsel now hopes Judge Merryday will enter a class-wide order protecting all Marines from separation based solely on the fact that they do not want to take one of these vaccines, especially because of their religious convictions.
"We've seen that kind of relief granted to Navy service members and Air Force service members by other courts, and we're hoping that Judge Merryday in Tampa will see fit to grant that same kind of relief for all Marines who are in this situation," Gannam adds.
He finds it unfathomable that the Department of Defense would stoop so low as to discharge and evict a service member who has honorably served his country, but the Liberty Counsel spokesman concludes that the military no longer seems interested in upholding the law or the Constitution.