The New York State Catholic Conference told reporters today that a lesbian couple’s class-action lawsuit against St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers, N.Y., represents the couple’s intent “to compel the hospital (and all Catholic employers) to violate their religious beliefs.”
According to Lohud.com, part of the Journal News, the women who filed the lawsuit anonymously in federal court in Manhattan this week say that St. Vincent’s Hospital in Harrison, N.Y. (which is run by St. Joseph’s), and its insurance provider discriminated against them by refusing them the same health benefits offered to other employees and their families.
Lohud.com reports that the couple tried to get spousal coverage after their 2011 marriage, but it was denied by the hospital’s insurance provider, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, which wrote in response to the women’s appeal that “same sex spouse and domestic partner is an exclusion under the benefit.”
The Catholic Conference issued a statement today saying that both the lawsuit and New York’s Marriage Equality Act infringe “on the religious liberty of Catholic employers.” It went o to say that the group urges “the governor and the legislature to pass legislation immediately to approve a full religious exemption to this ill-conceived law. We also continue to urge other states to use New York’s experience as a cautionary reminder of the true implications of the redefinition of marriage on religious liberty.”