A considerable number of states in the United States are appealing to the Supreme Court to restrict protections for LGBTI workers.
16 states, including 13 attorneys general and three Republican governors, filed an amicus brief on Thursday (23 August) with the highest court in the nation.
Their argument focuses on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII does not allow discrimination by employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
This amicus brief argues Title VII’s protections do not extend to sexual orientation or gender identity.
Recently, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that transgender people are protected from workplace discrimination and harassment.
‘The Sixth Circuit’s opinion … erases all common, ordinary understandings of the term “sex” in Title VII and expands it to include “gender identity'”and “transgender” status,’ the brief reads.
‘In doing so, the lower court rewrites Title VII in a way never intended or implemented by Congress in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.’
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson is leading this action.
A long back-and-forth
Democrats and Republicans have argued about the Civil Rights Act, and how far it extends, for years.
In 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder under President Obama issued a memorandum. In it, he aligned with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They both determined Title VII does, in fact, ban discrimination based on these identities.
This all changed when Jeff Sessions assumed the role of Attorney General under Trump.
Another figure signing on the amicus brief is Maine Governor Paul LePage. The state’s Democrats condemned his participation.
‘After refusing to protect LGBTQ youth in Maine from conversion therapy, Governor LePage has turned his efforts toward making sure businesses can fire workers based on their sexual orientation and gender identity,’ they said.
‘By working to exclude LGBTQ Mainers from these protections, Governor LePage has once again shown that he does not stand with Mainers who are overwhelmingly in favor of upholding these basic standards of decency.’
The Supreme Court will decide in the coming months if they will take on this case during their next session.