16 States Want the Supreme Court to Allow Legal Discrimination Against Trans People
A new amicus brief signed by 16 states is encouraging the Supreme Court to hear the case R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, concerning a funeral home that fired an employee for transitioning while she was employed. Though the 6th District Appeals Court found the funeral home violated the law, Republicans want the Supreme Court to hear the case in hopes that it will make trans discrimination legal.
The original case came up when Aimee Stephens sued R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes for firing her when she transitioned. Last March the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled that Stephens’ firing violated Title VII, which prohibits firing on the basis of sex discrimination.
The 6th Circuit’s decision, however, is being appealed by the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ hate group. The group argues the 6th Circuit made an “egregious error” and engaged in “policy experimentation,” and insists the word “sex” in Title VII only refers to biological sex, not gender identity. The ADF hopes the Supreme Court will rule in its favor and make trans discrimination legal.
As evidence, the group points to the favored source of lazy high schoolers padding out their essays: the dictionary. The ADF’s case includes a full page of citations from the dictionary showing the word “sex” only applies to “reproductive functions” or “reproductive organs.”
The 16 states signed onto the amicus brief (also known as a “friend of the court brief”) are Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Though Maine and Utah have laws against LGBTQ employment discrimination, none of the rest do.
Maine’s joining of the brief is due to the anti-LGBTQ governor Paul LePage, who also recently rejected a ban on conversion therapy for his state.
Three other amicus briefs have been filed. One of the briefs came from the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty, and the other two came from Southern Poverty Law Center-designated anti-LGBTQ hate groups. One comes from accused pedophile Roy Moore‘s organization, the Foundation for Moral Law. The other came from Public Advocate of the United States, which argues the court was biased because it refused to misgender Stephens.