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16 States to Supreme Court: Let Us Fire People for Being Transgender
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=25345"><span class="small">Zack Ford, ThinkProgress</span></a>   
Monday, 27 August 2018 13:29

Ford writes: "A group of sixteen states has filed a brief calling on the Supreme Court to rule that it's legal to fire people for being transgender."

Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky. (photo: Getty Images)
Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky. (photo: Getty Images)

16 States to Supreme Court: Let Us Fire People for Being Transgender

By Zack Ford, ThinkProgress

27 August 18

Dictionaries are more important than the right to a job, apparently.

group of sixteen states has filed a brief calling on the Supreme Court to rule that it’s legal to fire people for being transgender.

In the amicus brief filed Friday, the states recommended the Court consider R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a case about a Michigan funeral home that fired an employee, Aimee Stephens, for transitioning while on the job. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in March that Stephens’ termination violated Title VII’s protections on the basis of sex, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, has appealed the case to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court should hear the case, the states argue, and reverse it. Calling the Sixth Circuit’s decision “policy experimentation” and an “egregious error,” the states insist that the word “sex” can only mean biological sex and should not be interpreted to include gender identity. “‘[G]ender identity’ is a wholly different concept from ‘sex,’ and not a subset or reasonable interpretation of the term ‘sex’ in Title VII,” they write.

This is accompanied by a full page of dictionary citations that define the word “sex” according to “reproductive functions” or “reproductive organs.” The states also point to language in Title IX that allows educational institutions to maintain “separate living facilities for the different sexes.” This use of “different” somehow proves “that Congress was referring to the two biological sexes” whenever it used the term “sex.”

The states also insist that because Congress has at times tried to pass laws enumerating protections specifically for “gender identity,” this proves that it’s different from “sex.” Likewise, because Congress has used both terms at the same time, that must indicate that the two “are not interchangeable.”

These arguments ignore that in the past, courts had ruled against the claim that transgender people are protected under Title VII. The effort by the LGBTQ movement to convince both the courts and Congress to ensure that transgender people cannot be fired just for being trans is a both/and strategy, not an either/or one. It is simultaneously true that discriminating on the basis of gender identity requires discriminating on the basis of sex and that enumerating those protections will better safeguard from courts who don’t agree.

The states represented in the suit include Nebraska, Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming, as well as Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R), Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R). Utah and Maine have state laws protecting against anti-LGBTQ employment discrimination, but none of the rest do.

There has already been significant backlash against the brief.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D), who refused to sign the brief on behalf of the state, called Bevin’s decision to sign on “surprising” given that Kentucky state employees do enjoy protections against anti-LGBTQ discrimination, thanks to an executive order that Bevin has not rescinded. The Fairness Campaign, Kentucky’s state LGBTQ group, has also decried Bevin’s decision.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) has defended his decision to join the brief simply because he believes that “Congress — not the federal courts — should decide those types of policy questions.” The Alliance for a Better Utah, a government accountability group, believes Reyes’ participation flies in the face of the 2015 “compromise” law that created statewide LGBTQ protections in housing and employment.

“Sean Reyes’ signature on this amicus brief is a flagrant violation of the spirit of that compromise based in inclusion and acceptance,” said Chase Thomas, policy and advocacy counsel for the Alliance. “Whether gay, straight, bisexual or transgender, every person deserves to be able to pursue a career without fear of discrimination.”

In a statement, the National Center for Transgender Equality’s Harper Jean Tobin described the brief as “a political attack on the humanity of transgender people” and accused the attorneys general and governors of “acting in a complete state of ignorance.”

Three other briefs have been filed calling on the Supreme Court to reverse the Sixth Circuit’s decision. Two of them are from organizations the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as anti-LGBTQ hate groups. Roy Moore’s Foundation for Moral Law argues that religion should justify firing transgender people, and Public Advocate of the United States complains that the Sixth Circuit was biased because it was willing to identify Stephens with female pronouns. your social media marketing partner


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+5 # wilhelmscream 2018-08-27 15:00
F*uck You Paul LePage;Biggot/K lan member
+5 # kyzipster 2018-08-27 17:00
This is good stuff. It's the only way we LGBTQ people will ever see federal protection for our basic civil rights. Housing, jobs and public accommodation. Lord knows Congress is never going to debate it.

This mean spirited Culture War nonsense exposes the GOP's true 'Religious Freedom' agenda, and it's not just about the right to fire or evict transgender people. It's also the right to deny housing to cis gender same sex couples which happened recently in Missouri.

This move will help to garner more public support for legislating equal rights that every other minority has, and the majority when it comes to discrimination based on race, religion or gender. I'm amazed at how many people believe LGBTQ people have these rights in place.

It was never about the right of a Christian martyr to not be forced to participate in 'sin' by baking a cake, it was always a much bigger issue.
+5 # janie1893 2018-08-28 01:39
The ignorance of some 'educated people' is almost unbelievable.It has been proven scientifically that the human brain has an orientation toward particular sexuality characteristics in another person. It is not a chosen stance. Ergo, one's orientation is biological, ergo normal!!
+3 # ddd-rrr 2018-08-28 07:06
Well, I guess this is what should be expected of "the stupids" (those who
inherently cannot, or who choose to avoid, thinking logically or ethically,
based on factual information). To quote a "stupid-trumpis m", "SAD!"
+6 # laborequalswealth 2018-08-28 09:06
Dontcha just have to wonder what goes on in the heads of the panty police? Not once in my 50 years of working have I ever used my genitalia at work. How can what's in your crotch impact your job performance?

It's really getting hard to do political satire anymore. It ALL sounds like The Onion.