Photo Credit: Joe Ravi
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear three cases that surround the question of whether or not the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex under federal civil rights law can be interpreted as including “sexual orientation” and “sex stereotyping.”
The high court will now consider two appeals involving those who allege that they were fired due to their homosexuality, as well as a case out of Michigan centering on a Christian-owned funeral home, where a male employee was terminated after advising that he wished to begin dressing as a woman.
The nine justices will specifically need to consider whether the cases 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.”
The lower federal courts have had conflicting views on whether or not the term “sex” includes homosexuality or gender identity, or if it solely refers to disparities between men and women.
One of the cases to be heard is Zarda vs. Altitude Express, which centers on skydiving instructor Donald Zarda, who was fired by his employer following a complaint from the boyfriend of a female diver.
“Zarda often informed female clients of his
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