On Wednesday, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not prohibit discrimination against gay and bisexual employees. The DOJ’s brief was not solicited by the court or any party to the case. Rather, in an unusual move, the Trump administration elected to weigh in with an aggressively anti-gay stance, arguing that gay Americans have no protection against workplace discrimination under federal law. Its decision is unsurprising in light of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vigorous opposition to LGBTQ rights.
Title VII does not explicitly outlaw sexual orientation discrimination in employment. However, it does forbid “discrimination … because of sex.” which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission interprets to encompass anti-gay discrimination. For at least 15 years, many federal courts have agreed, and in April, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Title VII does, indeed, protect gay employees.
The left-leaning 2nd Circuit is almost certain to side with the EEOC and against the DOJ. But this fight is ultimately heading to the Supreme Court—and the Trump administration has now signaled loudly that it will encourage the justices to rule against gay employees. That may be disappointing to civil rights advocates, but it is not devastating to the cause. With arguments this unintelligible, the Justice Department seems unlikely to change anybody’s mind.
Read the entire story at Slate.com.