Supreme Court Hears Three Cases on the Redefinition of Sex in Civil Rights Law

Supreme Court building

This week, the Supreme Court heard arguments on three cases -- Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., Altitude Express v. Zarda, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission -- that present the question as to whether the prohibition of employment discrimination based on "sex" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also includes sexual orientation and gender identity. The employees in Bostock and Altitude Express claim they faced discrimination based on their sexual orientation. The employee at issue in Harris Funeral Homes claims he was fired after he began to identify as a woman. 
 
In response to the oral arguments, the chairmen of three committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) provided a statement urging the Supreme Court to not redefine "sex" in the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. In their statement, Bishop Robert McManus, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop Frank Dewane, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop James Conley, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, stated that redefining "sex" to include sexual orientation and gender identity "would not only be an interpretive leap away from the language and intent of Title VII, it would attempt to redefine a fundamental element of humanity that is the basis of the family, and would threaten religious liberty." 
 
In August, the USCCB filed friend-of-the-court briefs in all three cases. The briefs, along with the full statement of the bishops, can be found on the USCCB website.

October 28, 2019 - 2:37pm
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