The Trump administration has significantly been setting us back from any progress we’ve made in regards to fighting discrimination toward marginalized communities. On Friday an amicus brief was filed by the Justice Department, with the Trump administration asking the Supreme Court to legalize anti-gay discrimination in the workplace.
The amicus brief weighs in on two cases involving gay workers and the significance of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, a federal law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion or national origin. But the Trump administration is arguing that the sexuality is not extended in this civil rights law and therefore does not apply to people from the LGBTQ community. It was argued last week in a related brief against transgender rights. The administration has taken aggressive steps to legalize anti-transgender discrimination that federal laws allow for the firing of a person simply for being transgender.
“Title VII does not prohibit discrimination against transgender persons based on their transgender status,” a filing by the Justice Department reads. “It simply does not speak to discrimination because of an individual’s gender identity or a disconnect between an individual’s gender identity and the individual’s sex.”
The brief argues “the ordinary meaning of ‘sex,'” claiming that members of the LGBTQ community wouldn’t be discriminated based on their sex but on their sexuality or sexual orientation, which the law does not protect.
“Unfavorable treatment of a gay or lesbian employee as such is not the consequence of that individual’s sex,” the Justice Department argued, “but instead of an employer’s policy concerning a different trait — sexual orientation — that Title VII does not protect.”
If a ruling like this is approved, this could be incredibly dangerous for LGBTQ people. It would not only legalize discrimination against them but could also increase the chances of hate crimes being made against members of the community. It would be a major set-back in every way.
“Such a ruling would be disastrous, relegating LGBTQ people around the country to second-class citizen status. The LGBTQ community has fought too long and too hard to go back now, and we are counting on the justices not to reverse that hard-won progress,” said James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) LGBT & HIV Project, in an April statement on the Zarda case and the transgender discrimination case, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. V. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
This is far from the first time the Trump administration has made moves that hurt the LGBTQ community. Earlier this summer they proposed a policy that would allow certain federal contractors the right to discriminate against people who don’t share their employer’s religious views, which alluded to targeting LGBTQ employees.
Minority groups such as the black community, Latinxs, Muslims, women, LGBTQ people, and immigrants — but specifically immigrants of color — seem to be the Trump administration’s targets. The consequences of these backward political moves could be disastrous and lead to major consequences for a lot of these marginalized communities. We have worked WAY too hard to have an administration come in and try to reverse all the progress we have made so far.