Jeff Sessions Thinks It Should Be Legal to Fire You for Being LGBT

In the latest and most significant anti-LGBT action yet from the Trump administration, the Justice Department last night filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit arguing that federal civil rights laws do not protect individuals from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The case in question concerns a former skydiving instructor who filed a lawsuit against his employer in 2010, alleging that the company terminated him because of his sexual orientation.

This appalling brief from the Jeff Sessions-led Justice Department comes as the Second Circuit is preparing to hear arguments about whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, also prohibits discrimination against lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people — a position supported by, among many others, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which is based in Chicago, considered the same question. They ultimately ruled that discrimination against a person based on their sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination that is prohibited under Title VII. In writing for the court, Chief Judge Diane P. Wood noted that, “It would require considerable calisthenics to remove the ‘sex’ from ‘sexual orientation.’”[RK1]

And yet these kinds of legal gymnastics are now exactly what the Justice Department is attempting to do.

“It would require considerable calisthenics to remove the ‘sex’ from ‘sexual orientation.’”

As if the Trump administration’s legal arguments in this case weren’t galling enough on their own, the fact that they are even weighing in at all in this case is noteworthy for how outrageous it is. The United States is not a party to the case, thus the administration cannot argue that its hand was forced. No, this is nothing more than a shameful effort on the part of a very anti-LGBT attorney general to advance discriminatory legal arguments. The question of whether Title VII prohibits gender identity-based discrimination — a position well-supported in case law — isn’t even before the court in this case. Rather, this case addresses the question of whether the federal law that prohibits employment discrimination based on sex also bars discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation.

It is disgraceful that the Trump administration is working affirmatively to expose LGBT people to discrimination. Fortunately, the question of whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBT people is ultimately a question for the courts to resolve, not Attorney General Sessions.

So while the Justice Department abdicates their responsibility to fight for and uphold our civil rights, we will continue to push forward. 

The ACLU is confident that the law is in our side and that the courts will come to the right decision, just as the Seventh Circuit already has. And we’re prepared to continue this fight to make clear that discrimination against LGBT people is just another form of sex discrimination that is prohibited under federal civil rights laws.

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Anonymous

Why are there no specific quotes from this "appalling brief"? All this article does is speculate and whip people into a frenzy with no evidence that any of it is even true.

Bruce Williams

The approach on sex seems to be wrong. I realize society has changed what it considers the word sex means, but when the law was written in 1964 it meant just male/female and nothing more. And unfortunately it will take congress to redefine what is meant by sex.

The reality is that the Abrahamic religions are the reason for this discrimination. But everyone is not a believer in the Abrahamic religions. Take Atheists/Agnostics that follow the principles set forth by the Hypatian Society, a religious organization.

[Referencing http://hypatiansociety.org/the-21/21-rules/]
Rules 5, 8, 10, and 21 require that all humans be treated equally and the associated discrimination that the LGBT community is subject to can be addressed, if any litigants subscribe to the Hypatian rules, as religious discrimination.

The litigants may not even be aware that there is a defined religion which they have agreed with for a significant time in their life which is well defined, but if they feel that these rules are pretty much the core of their beliefs then they actually do have a religion which must be honored by the government.

Before declaring they believe in the Hypatian principals they should read ALL the above rules as well as the articles under About us at http://hypatiansociety.org/about-us/
The Hypatian Society was founded in 2009.

Anonymous

Come on ACLU why do you have to twist this I to something it is NOT. In 1964 LGBT was not even in the vocabulary at the time, so it was not encluded in the Civil Rights Act. There needs to be clarity so that some, such as yourself, can not twist it and say LGBT is not encluded. Let's have it clearly stated so the courts aren't being held up with cases trying to prove or disprove that LGBT individuals are included or are not encluded in the Civil Rights Act!

Anonymous

Here is a good example of "fake" news! Jeff Sesions did NOT say he thinks it should be legal to fire you for being LGBT. He did say, which is true, that LGBT was not nor is not clearly stated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as being protected from discrimination and continues to be argued both ways tying up needless court time. It needs to be stated once and for all that LGBT ARE included in the Civil Rights Act!

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John Cunningham

The White House, on behalf of their base of haters, is sending out forays to find a weak spot in the armor of inclusiveness. If they are allowed the luxury of a beach head it will be virtually impossible to remove them. Hatred and discrimination, in all its ugly forms, must be stopped dead in the water.

Anonymous

"Beachhead"? Are you familiar with the history of gay liberation in the US? We succeeded without anti-discrimination laws, by creating communities, and by working with businesses and employers that were friendly to our cause. Anti-discrimination laws destroy our communities and just drive discrimination underground. And anti-discrimination laws have done nothing for blacks or women.

Politicians and lawyers think that they have found a compliant and strong voting bloc by embracing these kinds of empty promises to gays and lesbians. Sorry, no deal. I left the Democratic party last year, and I stopped contributing to the ACLU, and I think more and more gays and lesbians are getting fed up with being treated like this.

Anonymous

Perhaps they will find skeletons in your closet....You may be next.

Anonymous

I wonder if anyone of these people working for us, the American people, know that they have LBGT members in the own families.

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