Skyline Church Celebrates Victorious Settlement in Landmark Lawsuit
San Diego, CA (May 23, 2023) – Skyline Church, along with three other California churches, has reached a significant settlement in a landmark lawsuit challenging the state’s mandate for health insurance plans to include coverage for abortions. The agreement, includes a payment of $1.4 million by California officials toward the churches’ attorneys’ fees.
The legal battle began in 2015 when Foothill Church in Glendora, Calvary Chapel of Chino Hills in Chino, and Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch filed a lawsuit against the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), objecting to the mandate. Later in 2016, Skyline Church, located near San Diego, joined the fight with a separate lawsuit filed by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
Two federal courts in California have played a crucial role in upholding the churches’ rights and ruling in their favor. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a permanent injunction on February 2, affirming that the mandate violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, specifically in the Foothill Church case. In the second lawsuit, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled in favor of Skyline Church on May 11.
State Attorney General Rob Bonta, recognizing the impact of these court decisions, recently submitted an agreement on May 9. According to the agreement, the state department will pay $500,000 in attorney fees to the churches involved in the first case by June 30. Furthermore, in the second lawsuit, the judge ordered state officials to pay ADF on behalf of Skyline Church $900,000 in attorney fees by the same deadline.
The resolution of these lawsuits is not only a victory for the churches involved but also for religious freedom and the sanctity of life. Skyline Church expresses gratitude to the dedicated legal team at Alliance Defending Freedom for their relentless efforts and unwavering commitment to defending our First Amendment rights.
Dr. Jeremy McGarity, the senior pastor of Skyline Church, shared his thoughts on the outcome, saying, “We are thankful for the court’s recognition of our constitutional rights and the protection of freedom to serve and honor Christ. This settlement reaffirms that churches have the right to uphold their beliefs and not be compelled to violate their conscience.”
Skyline Church remains steadfast in its commitment to serving the community and spreading its message of hope, love, and compassion. The church sincerely hopes this settlement will pave the way in California and the nation in showing you can win when you stand up and fight for the faith and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.