Trump’s Justice Department has argued the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not protect LGBTI people from discrimination.
Skydiving instructor Donald Zarda filed suit against his employer in federal court in 2010, alleging the company terminated him for being gay in violation of Title VII.
Title VII bans sex discrimination.
His defense, including Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, has long argued the law bans homophobic discrimination. They say it is based on sex stereotyping, and therefore discrimination based on sex.
But now the Justice Department, stepping in even though they are not a party in the case, has weighed in.
‘The sole question here is whether, as a matter of law, Title VII reaches sexual orientation discrimination,’ says the Justice Department’s brief.
‘It does not, as has been settled for decades. Any efforts to amend Title VII’s scope should be directed to Congress rather than the courts.’
The brief does not go into whether they consider gender identity to protected under the civil rights law.
The Justice Department contends Title VII only applies if men and women are not treated as equals.
On Wednesday, Trump said he would not allow transgender people to be in the US military in ‘any capacity’.
‘On the day that will go down in history as Anti-LGBT Day, comes one more gratuitous and extraordinary attack on LGBT people’s civil rights,’ said a statement from James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & HIV Project.
‘The Sessions-led Justice Department and the Trump administration are actively working to expose people to discrimination.’
He added: ‘Fortunately, courts will decide whether the Civil Rights Act protects LGBT people, not an Attorney General and a White House that are hell-bent on playing politics with people’s lives,” he said.