The transgender community has long been sounding the alarm over their rights, but one of their worst fears was confirmed this week: The Justice Department is now arguing to the Supreme Court that businesses can discriminate against employees based on gender identity with violating federal laws.
Bloomberg Law noted that this belief actually contradicts the position taken by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Solicitor General Noel Francisco told the high court that a civil rights law banning sex discrimination on the job doesn’t cover transgender bias. That approach already has created a rift within the Trump administration, contradicting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s view of the law it’s tasked with enforcing.
The case involves a funeral home that fired a trans worker. While an appeals court ruled in the worker’s favor, the U.S. government is now calling for the Supreme Court to overturn the decision — thereby defending the position that being trans is reason enough for a company to fire you.
The previous administration had defended the worker in the same case.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State was appalled by the reversal:
“This is just the latest attempt by the Trump-Pence administration to pander to a narrow group of evangelical Christians who are using religious freedom as a sword to harm others, rather than a shield of protection as the Constitution intended. We will not tolerate this desecration of our nation’s core values.
“Americans United will continue to stand with the transgender community and fight to protect church-state separation, which guarantees religious freedom for all of us, not just a select few.”
It is unconscionable that, in 2018, this is even an issue. A person’s gender identity has no effect whatsoever on their ability to perform his or her job. But in this administration, backed by hardcore evangelical Christians, common sense and human decency are not guiding principles when it comes to law-making (or breaking, as it were). This is a clear and deliberate act of discrimination. It also arrives the same week that we learned this administration wants to practically erase trans people out of existence by refusing to grant them civil rights protections.
So much for Donald Trump‘s posturing early in his campaign about being a “friend” to the LGBTQ community. Trump likely has no real opinion on the matter, but he’s all too eager to follow the agenda of whoever kisses his ass the most. In this case, that means conservative Christians.
Naturally, a conservative LGBTQ organization refused to condemn the administration for its bigotry, urging states to take up the matter instead.
“This debate highlights the fact that the crown jewel of LGBT activism since the dawn of the contemporary LGBT equality movement half a century ago — federal nondiscrimination legislation — remains unachieved,” Gregory Angelo, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, told Bloomberg Law. “As it is the strongest, cleanest, and most permanent means to achieving nondiscrimination protections, it is clear that the path to LGBT freedom in the United States rests not in the courts, but in legislatures across the country and in the nation’s capital.”
“This conservative solution is not only overdue, but necessary given the political landscape in the United States today,” Angelo said.
Laws in 20 states and Washington, D.C., directly ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
That same group endorsed Trump, who’s been anything but helpful to their core mission.
You’ve heard it several times before, but we’ll say it again anyway: Vote these Republicans out. Make noise. Ask the trans people in your life how you can be an ally. Do not let these positions go without a fight — and, if you can, be a part of that fight since not everyone has the option of joining in.
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