Wouldn’t it be nice for employees if they could redefine being “on time” as appearing anytime within a few hours of their scheduled work shift?

Or for employers, if they could redefine it to mean arriving two hours early?

Society functions because words are defined, and in the case of American law, it’s Congress that is assigned the task of making those definitions.

Which is why a federal lawsuit has been advanced to the U.S. Supreme Court asking the justices to rein in a federal agency that simply decided “sex” no longer, in the law, means “sex.”

It’s now “gender identity,” or a person’s subjective feelings about whether they are male or female at a particular moment.

“No court or federal agency has the authority to rewrite a federal statute. That power belongs solely to Congress,” said Alliance Defending Fund Senior Counsel Jim Campbell. “Replacing ‘sex’ with ‘gender identity,’ as the Sixth Circuit and the EEOC have done, is a dramatic change. What it means to be male or female shifts from a biological reality based in anatomy and physiology to a subjective perception.

“Far-reaching consequences accompany such a transformation.”

ADF is defending R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, of Detroit, Garden City and Livonia before the high court.

The case centers on worker Anthony Stephens, who had abruptly decided he no longer was a he, but a she, and “she” was going to dress like a woman.

The business, respectful of the families it served during times of grieving, has a dress code that requires men to dress like men.

Stephens was dismissed when he refused to follow it, and then he claimed discrimination.

In a stunning result, a three-judge appeals panel ruled in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which was the agency that determined “sex” did not mean “sex” in the federal law.

Karen Moore – a federal judge who once ruled that judges have nearly absolute immunity from claims over their behavior, even when they are “petty, unethical and unworthy” – wrote the opinion that the funeral home must allow a man to dress in skirts, nylons and high heels.

ADF is arguing to the Supreme Court that the lower court’s demand “that organizations enforce their sex-specific policies based on gender identity raises a host of problems.”

“For one, it fosters inconsistency and opens the door to manipulation. Anyone – not just those with ‘medical diagnoses’ – can profess a gender identity that conflicts with their sex.”

“Equally important, the Sixth Circuit’s decision undermines the primary purpose for banning discrimination based on sex — to ensure ‘equal opportunities’ for women,” the petition says.

“Employment reserved for women – like playing in the WNBA or working at a shelter for battered women … – now must be opened to males who identify as women. The same is true of sports and educational opportunities under Title IX. The Sixth Circuit’s ruling impedes women’s advancement. … In sum, the Sixth Circuit ushered in a profound change in federal law accompanied by widespread legal and social ramifications.”

John Bursch of Bursch Law PLLC, which also represents the funeral home, said court opinions “should interpret words in federal statutes according to their plain meaning when Congress passed them.”

“This opinion instead rewrites federal law and is directly contrary to decisions from other federal appellate courts. That’s why we are asking the Supreme Court to consider this case,” he said.

ADF’s Gary McCaleb earlier pointed out: “American business owners, especially those serving the grieving and the vulnerable, should be free to live and work consistently with their faith. The funeral home’s dress code is tailored to serve those mourning the loss of a loved one.”


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