DOJ Submits Anti-LGBTQ Brief to Supreme Court

 The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a brief with the Supreme Court arguing that existing federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination should not apply to transgender people. The move comes just days after the New York Times reported that the Trump administration was considering a narrow definition of the term “sex” that would essentially ensure transgender Americans were no longer recognized by the federal government.The administration filed the brief in EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Funeral Homes. The case involves Aimee Stephens, a Michigan woman who lost her job after she came out as transgender to her employers.

The Trump administration has taken other actions to chip away at the hard-earned gains of the transgender community. In early 2017, the Department of Education revoked non-binding guidance to schools on how best to accommodate and protect transgender students. In July of that year, President Trump tweeted his intentions to ban transgender people from serving in the military, resulting in our partners at organizations including the ACLU, GLAD, NCLR, and Outserve-SLDN immediately challenging the ban’s constitutionality through a series of lawsuits on behalf of active transgender soldiers; to date, the attempted ban has been stayed in over 10 court decisions from coast to coast.

Two other Title VII cases are also before the Court for review, both concerning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Zarda v. Altitude Express received a groundbreaking ruling from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in February, which ruled that Title VII is applicable to the category of sexual orientation; the plaintiff, Don Zarda, had been fired from a skydiving agency after disclosing that he was gay. In the case of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, a gay man is arguing that he was improperly terminated after disclosing his sexual orientation — in July of this year, the case was denied review by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, prompting the legal team for plaintiff Gerald Lynn Bostock to ask the Supreme Court for review.

Currently, 19 states offer statewide nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in employment, as well as housing and public accommodations. However, in the majority of the country, LGBTQ people do not have any recourse if they are fired on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The current patchwork of laws make it difficult for LGBTQ people to feel safe and secure in their everyday lives, which is why Freedom for All Americans is committed to helping pass federal legislation to ensure nationwide nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.

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