As AFN has previously reported, the mission has been serving its community for decades through its homeless shelter, health clinics, and recovery programs, while also providing free meals three times a day. But Reed says it is "continuing to suffer an actual injury," as it has two open positions that it is unable to fill because of the anti-discrimination law.
"They require every employee to both agree with and live out their religious beliefs, but state law prohibits them from doing that," Reed relays. "So, the mission filed a lawsuit to protect its right to continue hiring fellow believers."
A federal district court has dismissed the case, saying the mission lacked standing and had not yet suffered injury. So, they appealed to the 9th Circuit last Wednesday, November 8.
"Not only are we asking the 9th Circuit to reverse the lower court's ruling and allow the case to proceed, but we are also asking the 9th Circuit to issue an injunction to protect the mission so that as this case moves forward, the mission would be able to fill those positions and continue to hire employees according to its faith," the attorney explains.
In about 30 days, the mission will have a chance to file a reply brief to the state's argument, and that will be due around the end of the year. Early oral arguments could be heard as early as January or as late as next fall.
In the meantime, Reed says the mission's two open positions will remain unfilled so as to avoid the very high risk of facing third-party complaints or a private lawsuit.