Ministries and photographer claim Virginia LGBTQ rights law forces them to ‘violate’ their beliefs

A Christian conservative legal group has filed lawsuits on behalf of nonprofit ministries and a photographer, saying a new Virginia law offering LGBTQ protections forces them to “abandon” their beliefs.



a close up of a flag: Pride flags decorate Market Square in Old Town Alexandria during Pride Month on June 24, 2020, in Alexandria, Virginia.


© Shannon Finney/Getty Images
Pride flags decorate Market Square in Old Town Alexandria during Pride Month on June 24, 2020, in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Virginia Values Act offers sweeping protections to the state’s LGBTQ community in areas including housing, employment, public spaces and credit applications. It was signed into law in April.

But a group caled the Alliance Defending Freedom says the law has forced its clients “to abandon their core convictions in hiring and other polices or face fines up to $100,000 for each violation.”

“Our clients offer spiritual guidance, education, pregnancy support, and athletic opportunities to their communities because of the religious beliefs that motivate them,” ADF senior counsel Denise Harle said in a statement.

“But Virginia’s

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Japan’s Military Asks New Government to Continue Strengthening of Armed Forces | World News

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s military has asked Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s new government for its ninth straight annual budget increase, including funds to begin development of an advanced stealth fighter to counter new aircraft being deployed by China.

The Ministry of Defence budget proposal released on Wednesday seeks a 3.3% climb in spending to a record 5.49 trillion yen ($52 billion) for the year starting April 1. Finance ministry officials will review and possibly amend the request before passing it on to Suga’s cabinet.

If approved, the plan would continue a build-up pursued by Suga’s predecessor Shinzo Abe, that has seen Japan buy planes, missiles and aircraft carriers to give its Self Defence Forces greater range and potency as neighboring China expands its navy and air forces in East Asia.

The latest defence budget request also comes as Japanese policymakers debate whether to arm and train its military to strike

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