Pro-LGBTQ ‘Friends Of The Court’ Briefs Being Filed By Diverse Sectors In Advance Of Title VII Arguments At SCOTUS

U.S. Supreme Court

In advance of the upcoming oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court regarding whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, many sectors of America are urging SCOTUS to rule in favor of LGBTQ people.

A group of 36 former federal government officials who served during the Obama administration has filed a 43-page ‘friend of the court’ brief calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold LGBTQ rights.

Additionally, over 34 prominent LGBTQ-friendly Republicans, led by former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman, have offered their own amicus brief which aims to ‘resonate’ with the conservative members of the high court on the issue.

Advocacy groups Family Equality, The Trevor Project, and PFLAG National submitted an their own amicus brief in support of queer employees in the critically-important LGBTQ employment discrimination cases that will be considered by SCOTUS in the 2019-2020 term.

And big business has weighed in as well with over 206 major corporations (including Apple, Amazon, American Airlines, Bank of America, Ben & Jerry’s, Coca-Cola, Domino’s Pizza, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Nike, Starbucks, Viacom, Walt Disney and Xerox) signing on to their own brief in support of LGBTQ protections.

200+ Companies Sign Brief Asking SCOTUS To Rule Title VII Prohibits LGBTQ Discrimination

The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for October 8 on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies in banning LGBTQ discrimination.

The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for October 8 on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies in banning LGBTQ discrimination.

There will be three cases regarding Title VII heard that day. The crux of the cases concerns whether anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.

LGBTQ advocates say discrimination against gay people is sex discrimination because anti-gay bias is borne out of opposition to people who love others of the same sex.

A brief filed by the ACLU last week read, in part, “Firing a man because he is attracted to other men is like refusing to hire a woman because she has school-age children, failing to promote a woman because she is too ‘macho,’ or countenancing the sexual harassment of a man who is perceived by his coworkers to be vulnerable.”

Some court watchers say they are not overly-hopeful for a pro-LGBTQ ruling in light of Donald Trump’s choices for far-right leaning justices on the high court.

But Chief Justice John Roberts has, at times, surprised the LGBTQ community.

During arguments for the Obergefell decision in 2015, which made marriage equality the law of the land, Roberts made comments wondering if banning same-sex marriage would constitute a kind of sex discrimination.

In advance of the oral arguments, 206 companies have signed on to a ‘friend of the court’ brief asking SCOTUS to rule in favor of Title VII prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQs.

The list of companies includes big tech like Facebook, Apple and Adobe; food giants like Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Domino’s Pizza; also Uber, Zillow, MGM Resorts, Hilton, HSBC Bank and more.

The Human Rights Campaign reports the amicus brief has the largest number of business signers than any other brief filed in an LGBTQ discrimination case.

The brief reads, in part, “Even where companies voluntarily implement policies to prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, such policies are not a substitute for the force of law.”

“Only a uniform federal rule can enable businesses to recruit and retain, and employees to perform, at their highest levels,” says the brief.

The brief was organized by several LGBTQ advocacy groups including the Human Rights Campaign, Out & Equal, Freedom for All Americans and Lambda Legal.

(h/t Washington Blade)

News Round-Up: September 7, 2017

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• Woofy Eliad Cohen serves up some #ThrowBackThursday to his army days. Did you know that Cohen’s native Israel requires 32 months of compulsory military service for men? #MenInUniform

• The owner of High Times has acquired LGBTQ publications The Advocate, Out, Pride, Plus, and Out Traveler.

• Speaking of The Advocate, the cast of Will & Grace covers the venerable LGBT publication this month:

• Virulently anti-LGBTQ pastor Kevin Swanson announced on his radio program today that the Supreme Court must immediately reverse its Roe v. Wade and Obergefell decisions before the wrath of God is brought upon the U.S. in the form of Hurricane Irma. #SRSLY

• At this writing, 86 GOP members of Congress have signed an amicus brief in support of Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Donald Trump’s Justice Department also filed a brief in support of the baker’s right to discriminate against LGBTs.

• Check out the latest from Maroon 5: the poppy, upbeat “What Lovers Do” featuring 2017 breakout R&B star, SZA.

SCOTUS: 300 Prominent Republicans Sign Amicus Brief In Support Of Same-Sex Marriage

A “friend of the court” brief in support of marriage equality has been signed and filed at the U.S. Supreme Court by more than 300 high profile Republican lawmakers, operatives and consultants.

From Time:

The amicus brief, organized by former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, was filed for the four same-sex marriage cases the Court will hear on April 28 that could legalize the unions nationwide. In 2013, Mehlman marshaled a similar effort for the case that overturned California’s Proposition 8, which had banned same-sex marriage in the state.

Among the signatories are 23 current and former Republicans members of the House of Representatives and Senate and seven current and former Governors. Sens. Susan Collins and Mark Kirk have signed onto the brief, as has Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. Other notables include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal and billionaire GOP mega-donor David Koch.

SCOTUS has scheduled oral arguments in the cases regarding same-sex marriage from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals for April 28th.

SCOTUS: Hundreds Of Major Corporations Sign Brief In Support Of Same-Sex Marriage

Bloomberg Business reports that almost 400 major corporations have signed on to a “friend of the court” brief in support of same-sex marriage urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down anti-gay marriage laws.

In a friend-of-the-court brief expected to be filed on Thursday, hundreds of banks and other corporations argue that states that still prohibit gay unions “hamper employer efforts to recruit and retain the most talented workforce possible in those states.”

Major companies and financial institutions previously have backed the campaign to recognize same-sex unions, so the brief isn’t a surprise. What’s impressive is that as of Wednesday night, 379 corporations and employer organizations had signed on to the amicus brief, representing industries from technology to financial services, transportation to consumer products, retail to restaurants to sports.

Among those that signed on: Aetna, Alcoa, Amazon.com, American Airlines, American Express, Apple, AT&T, Bank of America, Barclays, BlackRock, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Capital One, Cardinal Health, Chubb, Cigna, Cisco, Citigroup, Colgate-Palmolive, ConAgra, Corning, Credit Suisse Securities, CVS Health, Delta Air Lines, Deutsche Bank, Dow Chemical, EBay, Facebook, General Electric, General Mills, GlaxoSmithKline, Goldman Sachs, Google, Hartford Financial Services, Hilton, HSBC, Intuit, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Kimberly-Clark, KPMG, Levi Strauss, Marriott, Marsh & McLennan, Massachusetts Mutual, McKinsey, Microsoft, MillerCoors, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Mutual, the New England Patriots, New York Life, Nike, Northrop Grumman, Office Depot, Oracle, Orbitz, Pandora, PepsiCo, Pfizer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Procter & Gamble, Prudential, Qualcomm, RBC Capital Markets, the San Francisco Giants, Staples, Symantec, the Tampa Bay Rays, Target, TD Bank, Twitter, UBS, United Airlines, Verizon, Walt Disney, Wells Fargo, and Zynga.

It was announced today that SCOTUS will hear the arguments for same-sex marriage cases from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on April 28th.

Conservative Billionaire David Koch Joins Amicus Brief In Favor Of Marriage Equality

David Koch

David Koch, billionaire donor to Republican/conservative campaigns, has announced he will join an amicus brief in support of marriage equality at the U.S. Supreme Court:

The brief he will reportedly sign in DeBoer v. Snyder, a case that could afford same-sex couples a constitutional right to marry, will host a number of other prominent conservative signatories, including retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former Reagan White House chief of staff Ken Duberstein and former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman. News of the brief was first reported Tuesday by The Washington Post.

An attorney for Koch Industries told the Free Beacon that Koch will join the brief in a personal capacity, indicating his support for gay marriage does not necessarily indicate a larger message from the Koch network of donors.

In 2012, Koch, the Libertarian Party’s 1980 vice presidential candidate, told POLITICO that he supported gay marriage, despite backing Mitt Romney and a host of other conservative candidates who favored varieties of same-sex marriage bans.

The brief will argue that providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples ultimately strengthens the institution of marriage and that the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution should prohibit state bans on same-sex marriage.