DOJ Seeks To Undermine Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Protections

WASHINGTON-DC - July 27, 2017: Last night, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in Zarda v. Altitude Express arguing that sexual orientation is not covered under Title VII's non-discrimination protections. 

"The DOJ's brief arguing against sexual orientation protections in employment in Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc. is an egregious display of the Administrations harmful ideological slant; this brief seeks to upend well-established legal theory. Of course, it comes as no surprise. Jeff Sessions consistently voted against LGBTQ rights during his time in the Senate, recently took time out of his schedule to speak at an LGBTQ hate group's conference, and as Alabama attorney general actively fought to keep an LGBTQ rights group from convening at the University of Alabama," said Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force.

"As Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions has continued his attacks against the members of our community. He has defended the President's Muslim Ban, ordered a review of consent decrees meant to address discrimination and use of force by police departments, and reintroduced some of the worst mechanisms that fuel mass incarceration. Jeff Sessions is widely reported to have been the driving force behind rescinding Obama-era regulations allowing transgender students to use appropriate bathrooms, and is rumored to have been the deciding factor in the Census Bureau's decision not to ask questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on the Census," said Stacey Long Simmons, Director of Advocacy and Action, National LGBTQ Task Force

"I am not surprised by the stance Sessions's Department of Justice took in this case. But I am surprised by the paucity of reason in its brief to the court. The brief intentionally ignores holdings by Circuit Courts and the EEOC, and instead seems to argue that a history of discrimination by Congress and the Courts can be read as implying a lack of standing for protections today. It is disturbing that the top lawyer in the land is allowing his views to trump legal reasoning; we hope and believe that the Second Circuit will rule against discrimination and for LGBTQ workers to be free of discrimination," said Stacey Long Simmons, Director of Advocacy and Action, National LGBTQ Task Force

The National LGBTQ Task Force has fought for employment discrimination protections for decades. In 1975, we worked with Representative Bella Abzug to introduce the Equality Act of 1974, which would have prohibited sexual orientation discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. In subsequent years, we fought to include gender identity in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and recently worked on the introduction of the Equality Act, legislation that would prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system.

The National LGBTQ Task Force works to secure full freedom, justice, equality, and equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people. For over forty years, we have been at the forefront of the social justice movement by training thousands of organizers and advocating for change at the federal, state, and local level.

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