WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Lawyers from the Department of Justice argued to the Supreme Court, on Wednesday, that civil rights protections banning sex discrimination in the workplace do not cover transgender employees.

 

President Donald J. Trump’s Solicitor General, Noel Francisco, made the argument just days after the New York Times revealed the Trump-Pence White House is attempting to redefine “sex” across the federal government in order to justify their decision to refuse to protect transgender people under federal civil rights law.

 

“Time and time again, federal circuit courts have ruled that discriminating against an individual based on their gender identity is form of sex discrimination -- which is prohibited under a wide range of federal laws including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said Sarah Warbelow, Legal Director for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization.

 

“The Trump-Pence Administration is continuing down a destructive path that will put transgender people at further risk of discrimination and violence. For the Department of Justice to conveniently ignore significant legal precedent is deeply disturbing,” Warbelow added.

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The case before the Court involves Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who was fired by a funeral home, when she informed her supervisor that she is transgender. Francisco’s filing with the Supreme Court is at odds with numerous circuit court decisions and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s interpretation of federal law.


On Sunday, the New York Times reported the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is planning to release regulations narrowly defining “sex” in an anti-transgender way that guts enforcement of existing civil rights protections for LGBTQ people. The Administration’s plans are in direct conflict with a growing trend in federal court decisions affirming that sexual orientation and gender identity are covered under our nation’s civil rights laws which prohibit discrimination based on “sex.” This is the latest effort in a consistent, multi-pronged campaign by the Trump-Pence White House over the past two years to undermine the rights and welfare of LGBTQ people.

 

HRC is calling on the American people to send a clear message to the Trump-Pence White House in November by voting for candidates that fully support LGBTQ rights and will work to pass the Equality Act.

 

The Equality Act would finally add clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people to our nation’s civil rights laws. In addition to having bipartisan support in Congress with 246 cosponsors, 117 major corporations have also joined HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act. Discrimination is a real and persistent problem for far too many LGBTQ Americans. HRC polling has found that nearly two-thirds of self-identified LGBTQ Americans report experiencing discrimination.

 

Photo Credit: William Kelly/ACLU

 

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