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Supreme Court to Decide Definition of 'Sex' After Unelected Officials Change Gender Identity Rules for Businesses

04-22-2019
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Jim Campbell, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) appeared on Monday's CBN Newswatch program to discuss the case involving the Michigan funeral home. The ADF represents the funeral home that is defending its refusal to employ a male who identified as a woman and wanted to dress in woman's clothing while at work.

The US Supreme Court decided Monday that it will wade into the thorny issue of discrimination in the workplace.  

It will hear a trio of cases involving people who say they were fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

At issue is whether the 1964 federal Civil Rights law that prohibits employment discrimination based on race and religion also applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Some states have laws specifically designed to protect homosexual and transgender workers. In the past, federal courts have split in their decisions on whether those who identify as LGBTQ are also provided protection under existing law. 

One case involves a gay skydiving instructor who challenged his dismissal and a second case that pertains to a social worker who said he was fired because of his sexual orientation.

Another of the cases involves a male Michigan funeral home employee who dressed as a woman.

However, the funeral home said its priority is for families to focus on their loss and their grief.  That's why the business set sex-specific dress code to emphasize professionalism and so employees would blend into the background.

The funeral home fired the employee on the decision to not follow the dress code. It was then that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against the funeral home.

The US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit agreed with the EEOC. In their appeal, the Alliance Defending Freedom is asking the Supreme Court to answer the question: Who has the authority to rewrite federal law? 

The ADF argues that this should have been an open-and-shut case. Small businesses are allowed under the law to differentiate between men and women in their dress codes. Even the EEOC's own employee manual states that a "dress code may require male employees to wear neckties at all times and female employees to wear skirts or dresses at all times."

In a blog post, the ADF noted, "In order to achieve its own political goals through the courts, the EEOC decided that the definition of 'sex' in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin – should mean 'gender identity'."

"But businesses have the right to rely on what the law is – not what government agencies want it to be – when they create and enforce employment policies," the blog continued. 

"These are important issues that you and I have the right to decide through our elected officials. Unelected officials – whether bureaucrats or judges – don't have the power to make these choices for us," the ADF concluded. 

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