Hearing over COVID-19 vaccine mandates for military members to be held at Tampa federal court

It’s not the fight these military members say they signed up for when they agreed to serve their country. However, a legal battle will be playing out at the Tampa federal court Thursday morning as high-ranking service members argue to have their religious exemptions honored so they can refuse the COVID-19 vaccine without consequences.

Over the summer, the White House ordered that all military members needed to get vaccinated, adding that some would be able to opt out due to medical or religious exemptions.

However, several service members allege that their religious exemption requests are not being honored. The complaint filed on their behalf adds that the individuals are being threatened with a dishonorable discharge for even requesting that exemption.

A Christian-based legal group, Liberty Council, is representing just under a dozen military members from the Bay Area who say their request for exemption has been denied and they could soon face disciplinary action.  

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The group alleges that, in the same time period, 4,000 medical exemptions were granted. Only four of 24,000 religious exemptions were approved.

It’s already come down to the wire for two of the service members Liberty Council is representing. They say the process of discharging them from their positions was about to begin.

However, they were able to get an injunction filed that would prevent them from any fallout due to their refusal to get the vaccine.  That injunction is set to expire Friday.

Now, they’re fighting for that injunction to be extended indefinitely until the entirety of the complaint has been heard and resolved.

The hearing is set for Thursday morning.