WASHINGTON — More than 200 major U.S. corporations have signed on to an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to rule that employers are prohibited under federal civil rights law from firing workers due to their “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” The ruling would affect Christian business owners nationwide, as one of the cases surrounds a Christian funeral home owner who would not permit his funeral director and embalmer to dress like a woman on the job.
As previously reported, existing federal law against “sex” discrimination has historically been interpreted as barring discrimination against women, but recent lower court rulings have read “sexual orientation” and “sex stereotyping” into the statute.
The nine justices will specifically need to consider whether homosexuality and gender identity fall under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that “[i]t shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
“[T]he 206 businesses joining this brief respectfully urge this Court to recognize that Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination ‘because of … sex’ includes the prohibition of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination,” the joint brief states. “Amici support the principle that no one should be passed over for a job, paid less, fired, or subjected to harassment or any other form of discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
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