Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced yesterday that Michigan has filed a lawsuit to defend religious liberty and challenge the health care mandate, calling it unconstitutional, that forces religious schools, non-profits and employers to violate their religious and faith-based beliefs by providing insurance plans that cover services that conflict with those religious beliefs.

Schuette said "religious liberty is America's first freedom. Constitutional rights cannot be finessed. Religious liberty cannot be compromised." He continued "any rule, regulation or law that forces faith-based institutions to provide for services that violate their free exercise of religion, or that penalizes them for failing to kneel at the altar of government, is a flat-out violation of the First Amendment."

The lawsuit filed yesterday is in response to recently announced Obamacare regulations that force thousands of religious organizations to violate their deepest beliefs by mandating what the organizations must include in their employee health plans, or face steep government fines. Although the Obama administration has provided thousands of exemptions for other groups, including many large corporations, it has persistently refused to give the same accommodation to religious organizations exercising their First Amendment freedoms.

On January 20, 2012, the Obama administration announced that it would not change its mandate forcing religious employers to purchase and provide health care services that violate their religious beliefs and moral convictions. The decision was announced in spite of concerns expressed by a wide spectrum of religious leaders and employers.

Michigan's lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska and Michigan is joined by six states in the effort: Florida, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. Also joining the litigation are The Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America, Catholic Social Services and two private citizens.