WASHINGTON, DC–In what could prove to be the ultimate sell-out by the Trump administration of the LGBTQ community, the Department of Justice filed a brief with the Supreme Court on Friday, August 23, that argued that gay workers are not protected by the federal civil rights law. The move came precisely a week after the DOJ made a similar move against transgender workers.
The brief revolved around Gerald Bostock, a gay who was terminated from his job as a child welfare worker by Clayton County, Georgia, because of his sexual orientation. Bostock was joined in the brief by the late Donald Zarda, a former skydiving instructor who was terminated by the New York-based Altitude Express for the same reason.
According to Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco, arguing for the Department of Justice, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin, “does not bar discrimination because of sexual orientation.”
According to the brief: “The ordinary meaning of ‘sex’ is biologically male or female; it does not include sexual orientation. An employer thus discriminates ‘because of * * * sex’ under Title VII if it treats members of one sex worse than similarly situated members of the other sex. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, standing alone, does not satisfy that standard.”
The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to rule that federal law does not bar companies from firing workers just because they are gay. pic.twitter.com/jH8Jki7cVR
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) August 23, 2019
There have been split decisions in lower court rulings over the past several years on whether the word “sex” discrimination in Title VII includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Supreme Court will hear the cases next term, which begins in October.