Think Religiously Motivated Discrimination Can’t Affect You? Guess Again.

Aimee Stephens knows first-hand how religiously-motivated discrimination can wreck your life. Aimee worked as a funeral director for a Michigan funeral home for six years. Aimee is a woman who is transgender, but for six years she went to work presenting as a man, while she struggled to be able to live her life as a woman. When she could hide no longer, she came out to her boss. Two weeks later, he fired her, saying “this is not going to work out.”

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued on Aimee’s behalf, seeking a remedy for the funeral home’s blatant sex discrimination. The funeral home didn’t deny that it fired Aimee because she was going to present as a woman. Instead it said that federal law allows it to fire her because of the funeral home owner’s religious belief that it’s a sin to transition from one gender to another.

A federal judge in Detroit agreed with the funeral home and dismissed the EEOC’s suit. The judge ruled that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) permitted the funeral home to use to justify discrimination against transgender employees. That court’s view, if allowed to stand, would carve out an exception to federal civil rights laws for any employer with religious beliefs that support discrimination. And it could authorize not just anti-transgender discrimination, but discrimination based on race, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation – in short, all civil rights protections that are basic guarantees of equality in America.

The ACLU, representing Aimee, is before the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today challenging the trial court ruling. While the freedom of religion is a core American value that’s protected by the Constitution, religious freedom doesn’t give anyone the right to discriminate.

Aimee Stephens’s case is just one example of how those opposed to LGBT rights are seeking to use religion as an excuse to discriminate. Later this fall, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in another religious exemptions case, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In that case, a bakery outside Denver refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig citing the bakery’s religious objections to gay people getting married. The Supreme Court is set to decide whether

the bakery has a constitutional right to discriminate based on its religious beliefs and its artistic freedom.

Anti-LGBT advocates are also trying to use religion to deny people health care. In a Texas case, health care providers have challenged federal rules that bar discrimination in access to health care. They argue that such rules violate their religious freedom in requiring them to provide health care to transgender people. And in California, a Catholic hospital refused to perform a hysterectomy on a transgender man, arguing that its religious beliefs justify turning the patient away.

In the past, courts have largely rejected attempts to use religion to discriminate. But our opponents haven’t given up. We need to fight back, for Aimee Stephens and for LGBT people all across the country.

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Anonymous

Transgenders are hopefully one Supreme Court decision away from going somewhere - or more accurately finding out that they have no legal grounds for their world view. I don't usually have a problem with homosexuals although I do think that the activists take things a little too far sometimes. Homosexuals probably aren't going anywhere because the same-sex marriage ruling did give them some rights as homosexuals (as opposed to just rights as US citizens). I don't know that much about the Bible but since it was written before sex-change operations and hormone replacement it probably wasn't a concept the authors had to deal with. Maybe cross dressers or eunichs.

Amber Gowens

Here's one since you asked: "And man was not made for woman, but woman was made for man." 1 Corinthians 11:9 No where does it give any room in the entire bible for your opinion about what you should be or what anatomy you think you should have. And it also does not say God made man for man. It's pretty clear. However it makes no sense to argue with you anyway since you clearly have no respect for God's Word so there's really no point for debate.

Here's another one since you asked: "A woman must not put on men's clothing, and a man must not wear women's clothing. Anyone who does this is detestable in the sight of the LORD your God." Deuteronomy 22:5

Read it and weep.

Anonymous

and if we allow transgenders to bring back gender stereotypes under the guise of "gender identity" then women will once again be discriminated against. If Aimee doesn't want to be a man then Aimee can make up a new gender - women didn't get to vote on whether to give him permission to appropriate our gender. Also, Aimee can't be discriminated against as a transgender according to federal law because the Federal Government doesn't recognize transgenders as a protected group of people.

James Linthicum

This isn't just a concern for LGBT citizens, it's also a concern for anyone who isn't a right wing Protestant Christian. I will not sit back and watch as assertive Christian denominations trample the civil liberties of Atheists, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, or anyone else.

Anonymous

The media likes to say its just Christians but I'm not Christian. I base my view on biology. Also, WOLF (which are some far left, Trump-hating, often lesbian, feminists) has joined teams with Christian women and concerned women who are neither to defend women's rights against biological men who think they are women based on stereotypes. The people against giving transgenders rights that are supposed to be reserved for women and girls are actually very diverse.

Dr. Joseph Goebbels

Let's be fair to the employer. Imagine your own surprise if some man came up to you, pulled down his pants, and said: "Check this out, dude, I don't have a hoo-hoo" ?

Xenia

Love you ❣❣❣ You are too right.
L - Let
G - God
B - Burn
T - Them
Q - Quickly

Susan

I lived in a fundamental christian small town for many years. Those christians were the worst. The only times I was screwed in my job was by christians who announce, "I am a christian." They ostricized my children and finally, told my children, "We don't have to be nice to you because you're going to hell." I researched the Bible and how it came to be, who added to it, what was left out, how it changed and who changed it. If that is the word of god, we're fucked. I have ceased to be a christian. It is damn freeing to breath the fresh light of goodness and kindness. I want nothing to do with self proclaimed christians. They are the evil they seek to avoid.

Anonymous

Let's stop pretending this is about "religious rights"; it's not Jews, Buddhists, Muslims or Hindu who are asking for the right to force others to follow their religion. This is solely about the establishment of the most hateful type of evangelical Christianity.

Marie Louise Bosin

So, what seems to be missing here is compassion. We are people. No one is trying to stomp on your religious beliefs. We just want to be free to live our lives as well. First we are PEOPLE, no what-ever-gender-we-identify-with. Would you agree, religious people, that someone having to live a life in darkness, not acknowledging who they are and having to split themselves in order to work, is harmful for PEOPLE? See, the whole idea behind civil rights is that some PEOPLE have trouble accepting other PEOPLE. We don’t mind living with you, but we don’t want you to be in charge of our government because then we are subject to your discriminatory practices. We all live in the same place so can we accept that we all have a right to live the life we believe we are destined to live? I am not a liberal but no conservative either. I believe the party system is what ultimately got us to the divided place we are today. If we are going to co-habitate, we are going to have to learn to love, accept and assist each other regardless our beliefs for our life style. Jesus would want us to do this.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek. There is neither Slave nor Free. There is no Male or Female. We are all one under Christ.
I Corinthians 14:33-35 For GOD is not a GOD of confusion but a GOD of peace.
I John 4:20 If anyone says “I Love GOD” but hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love GOD whom he has not seen.
Acts 10:34 So, Peter opened his mouth and he said, “I truly understand that GOD shows no partiality.”
No we can chose bible verses to support our position, but we can’t pick and chose. We have to accept that these representatives of GOD said these things.

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