A federal lawsuit filed Thursday claims that a Maryland hospital refused to care for a man because he is transgender.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing Jesse Hammons in the lawsuit.

According to the ACLU, Hammons was scheduled to undergo a hysterectomy at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in Baltimore. A week before the surgery was scheduled to take place, Hammons was informed that the surgery was canceled because it violated the hospital's Catholic religious beliefs.

The University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center is a taxpayer-owned hospital that was previously operated as a Catholic hospital. The University of Maryland Medical System acquired the hospital eight years ago.

“I was shocked when I learned that the hospital canceled my surgery just because I am transgender,” said Jesse Hammons, who works at a local community college and is studying to become an American Sign Language interpreter. “The hospital will perform hysterectomies for everyone else, but they did not think that my life, as a man who is transgender, is equally worthy of protection. While no one should be turned away from health care because of who they are, the fact that this institution is part of the University of Maryland Medical System makes it particularly painful.”

“The government has no business running a religious hospital,” said Joshua Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project. “The Supreme Court has been clear that a government-controlled corporation like UMMS must comply with the Constitution. A governmental entity cannot deny medical care based on religious beliefs, and it cannot discriminate against transgender people by denying them health care that is available to everyone else.”

Hammons received medical care through a different medical provider, the ACLU said.