The Trump administration has filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a Michigan funeral home that fired a longtime employee for coming out as transgender and beginning her transition.
Aimee Stephens worked for Harris Funeral Homes for five years before she began to transition in 2012.
Saying she was “violating God’s commands,” fired Stephens two weeks later.
Stephens is suing the funeral home saying she experienced sex discrimination the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
It is the Trump administration’s position that transgender people can be fired just for being trans.
More from Dominic Holden at Buzzfeed News:
The Justice Department’s brief on Friday contends the word refers to a person’s “biological sex” and, further, that transgender discrimination isn’t addressed by a 1989 Supreme Court ruling that found Title VII bans sex stereotyping.
“Title VII does not prohibit discrimination against transgender persons based on their transgender status,” says a filing by the Justice Department, adding, “It simply does not speak to discrimination because of an individual’s gender identity or a disconnect between an individual’s gender identity and the individual’s sex.”
The counterargument from LGBTQ advocates and several lower courts, however, is that the intent of lawmakers does not limit a law’s reach, but rather its meaning is defined by the statute’s plain text. They say anti-transgender discrimination can result from a person defying traditional sex stereotypes or because the person transitioned from one sex to another — and thus, it is inherently a type of sex discrimination.
The case at issue is one of three currently before the court about the rights of LGBTQ workers under Title VII — and the only one concerning a transgender worker.
The Trump administration maintains that when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was authored, the idea of transgender people wasn’t present in the “ordinary public meaning of ‘sex'” as biological sex.
But here’s the double-standard: if you can only apply laws as what people knew or understood at the time the were written, that would mean military assault-style weapons would not be protected under the 2nd Amendment because the Founding Fathers didn’t know such weapons would ever exist. And that’s just the beginning.
Stephens’ legal team maintains the plain text of Title VII addresses “sex” discrimination. And it’s impossible to consider her being transgender without taking into account the concept of her sex.
SCOTUS will hear oral arguments in the case on Oct. 8, along with two additional cases that address whether sexual orientation discrimination is protected by Title VII.