Charlene Hastings, who was born male, works for the city of San Francisco as a tax collector. Hastings had a sex-change surgery, and is planning to have another surgery next month to feminize his nose. Hastings also wanted to have breast enlargement, but his plastic surgeon said that Seton Medical Center in Daly City did not allow sex-change operations, in keeping with its Catholic beliefs. The non-profit hospital, which was founded in 1893 by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, also does not perform abortions or allow euthanasia.
Hastings called the hospital and it was explained that the hospital's stance was based on its religious convictions. Hastings professed outrage, telling the San Jose Mercury-News, "I couldn't believe it. It's blatant discrimination." Hastings filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court in late December, alleging violation of California's Unruh Act, which prohibits discrimination by business establishments.
Pacific Justice Institute has contacted the hospital offering to assist in its defense. PJI regularly advises individuals and non-profit organizations regarding the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Last summer, PJI successfully defended a Christian swim team against a frivolous lawsuit based on the Unruh Act. PJI has also filed a friend of the court brief in a major Unruh Act case involving doctors who declined to artificially inseminate a lesbian based on their religious convictions in traditional marriage. That case is currently pending at the California Supreme Court.
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, "Yet again, California's civil rights laws are being used as a weapon to silence and intimidate people of faith. For years we have fought against so-called anti-discrimination measures which elevate sexual preferences above religious convictions. We are hopeful that common sense will prevail in this case, and this non-profit Catholic hospital will not be forced to abandon its beliefs."