Representatives of 16 states are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to protect religious rights in the brave new world where those choosing alternative sexual lifestyles want to trump the Constitution’s protections for religion.
According to the Christian Post, 13 state attorneys general, all Republicans, have been joined by three Republican governors in a brief to the high court.
The dispute at issue involves the R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan, where officials dismissed a man who said he is a woman and insisted on dressing that way.
That was in violation of the company’s dress code, and he was dismissed, but the EEOC and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the word “sex” in federal nondiscrimination laws actually means “gender identity” so the funeral home managers shouldn’t have taken any action against the employee, William Anthony Beasley Stephens.
The top state law enforcement officials want the court to say that the Title VII civil rights law doesn’t protect people with gender identity issues, only that companies cannot discriminate based on sex.
The filing explains the mid-level court made a mistake.
“The text, structure, and history of Title VII … demonstrate Congress’s unambiguous intent to prohibit invidious discrimination on the basis of ‘sex,’ not ‘gender identity,'” the attorneys general say.
“The term ‘gender identity’ does not appear in the text of Title VII or in the regulations accompanying Title VII. In fact, ‘gender identity’ is a wholly different concept from ‘sex,’ and not a subset or reasonable interpretation of the term ‘sex’ in Title VII.”
Other laws in some states forbid discrimination on the basis of gender identity but that is not in federal law.
Federal officials, however, did start acting like it was in the law under Barack Obama’s administration.
The GOP leaders say the intermediate court took upon itself the authority to rewrite the law from Congress.
“The role of the courts is to interpret the law, not to rewrite the law by adding a new, unintended meaning,” the brief said.
A complication is that last year Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a guidance that states the First Amendment protects the free exercise rights of businesses, corporations, religious groups and others.
WND reported just days earlier that another brief explained how Justice Samuel Alito’s warning about discrimination against supporters of traditional marriage, which came when by the narrowest of margins five lawyers on the bench created same-sex marriage for America, appears to be coming true.
In 2015 the five decided, without support from the Constitution, according to the chief justice, that same-sex marriages must be recognized, even though centuries of tradition and precedent did not support such a move.
At the time, Alito issued a dire warning in dissent.
“I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools,” he warned.
Those are the very circumstances in a case submitted to the court for possible review.
In it, a man who worked for a funeral home decided he is a woman and began dressing that way. But he was dismissed because he failed to follow his job’s required dress code.
He sued, and since the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decided that in federal law “sex” now means “gender identity,” an appeals court affirmed the man’s complaint of discrimination.
Now the Foundation for Moral Law has submitted a brief asking the high court to take up the case.
It explained: “In this case, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued a funeral home, owned by Christians, that refused to allow a male funeral director to dress as a female. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination applies to transgender individuals and that the funeral home owners’ religious objections did not protect them from liability.”
The foundation continued: “In October 2016, the Supreme Court had granted certiorari to consider whether federal regulations required public schools to allow students who claimed to be transgender to use the bathroom of their choice. However, when the Trump administration came to power in 2017, it changed positions from the Obama administration, holding that schools may segregate students based on their biological sex in bathrooms and locker rooms. The Supreme Court therefore declined to decide the issue at that time. Now, the Supreme Court is being asked to consider the transgender question in the workplace instead of in schools.”
Kayla Moore, the foundation president, said: “Religious liberty is an unalienable right given by God. The courts cannot force the funeral home owners in this case to surrender that right.”
That the next major cases over the conflict between special rights for alternative sexual lifestyles and constitutionally protected religious right will focus on transgenderism was illustrated just days ago when the state of Colorado brought a complaint against Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips.
He was the baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex duo because it violated his faith and was vindicated by the Supreme Court.
Now the state of Colorado is punishing him for refusing to bake a cake celebrating transgenderism.
WND reported when James Dobson, the noted Christian psychologist and founder of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, reacted, asserting the state of Colorado is running a “biased” Civil Rights Commission that exhibits hostility to “people of faith.”
And he wants lawmakers to fix it.
“We strongly condemn the decision of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to allow this new claim of discrimination to move forward,” Dobson’s statement said. “This is simply a continued attack on the First Amendment and religious freedom.
“We call upon the Colorado legislature to provide unbiased, fair, constitutional due process for all Coloradoans, including people of faith, and to prevent future hostility by this biased government agency.”
The newest brief was signed by attorneys generals from Texas, Nebraska, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. It was also signed by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, Maine Gov. Paul LePage and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant.