08 August 2017

DOJ: Federal Law Does Not Protect LGBT

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It keeps getting better and better in the Trump country these days. Dawn has finally shown after years of dark skies and President Donald Trump is not even a year-old in office.

Last 26 July, the Department of Justice filed a brief arguing that a landmark federal law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The filing occurred in a US Second Circuit Court case, Zarda v. Altitude Express. The case was first brought forward in 2010 by Donald Zarda, a now deceased skydiving instructor, who alleged he was fired because of his sexual orientation, according to The New York Times.

The DOJ's brief weighed in on whether or not Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Title VII does ban workplace discrimination based on sex, race, color, national origin, and religion.

Much of the debate about Title VII swirls around whether the word "sex" also pertains to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Rulings from federal appeals courts are all over the place when it comes to interpretation of the law. In 2000, the Second Circuit Court ruled in the case of Simonton v. Runyon that the law did not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In April, the Seventh Circuit Court ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation does violate federal law in the case Hively v. Ivy Community College.

The DOJ is now reversing the position it held during Barack Obama's presidency — that discrimination based on sexual discrimination violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In a statement to Business Insider, the DOJ said:
"Today's brief is consistent with the Justice Department's longstanding position and the holdings of ten different Courts of Appeals. The brief also reaffirms the Department's fundamental belief that the courts cannot expand the law beyond what Congress has provided. This Department remains committed to protecting the civil and constitutional rights of all individuals and will continue to enforce the numerous laws Congress has enacted that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."