Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Hate group furious that court says civil rights laws protect gays from job discrimination

The Family Research Council is furious at a recent court ruling.

Recently, the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

Existing civil rights laws protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation, a federal appeals court ruled in a historic nationwide first on Tuesday. It is a "common-sense reality," the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held, "that it is actually impossible to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without discriminating on the basis of sex." Specifically, the court held that the sex discrimination ban in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes a bar on discriminating against gay, lesbian, or bisexual people. 
 The 8-3 ruling represented a reversal of the court's past decisions on the topic, and makes it the first federal appeals court to rule in favor of protection for sexual orientation-based discrimination under existing federal law. "[A] person who alleges that she experienced employment discrimination on the basis of her sexual orientation has put forth a case of sex discrimination for Title VII purposes," Chief Judge Diane Wood wrote for the full court. The Seventh Circuit covers federal lawsuits out of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The ruling comes on the heels of two other federal appeals court rulings, in which three-judge panels held that prior rulings of the courts made clear that sexual orientation discrimination is not covered under Title VII. Tuesday's ruling, however, was the first time a court had sat en banc — meaning the full court — in hearing such a case. When an appeals court sits en banc, it can review — and reverse — its prior rulings.

It didn't take long after that before the anti-lgbt hate group Family Research Council issued a hysterical disagreement with the ruling, with the usual hurtling of wild accusations without any shred of proof.:

If Congress won't rewrite the law, liberals will find a court who will! That's been the M.O. of the Left for decades: packing the bench with wannabe legislators who'll impose the agendas they could never pass democratically. It worked on school prayer, abortion, and marriage, as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) bragged last year. Now, the Left is using the same playbook on the gender debate -- knowing full well that it's the only way they can force their vision on an unwilling America. Fortunately, there are some judges who agree with us that if the Left wants to change the definition of discrimination, it's asking the wrong branch of government. Unfortunately, those judges aren't in the majority on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a mind-boggling decision yesterday, the judges not only stole Congress's job -- they admitted they were doing it! 
For years, liberals have tried to pass legislation making "sexual orientation" a protected category under the Civil Rights Act -- first with ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) and then with the "Equality Act." The House and Senate rejected them every time. They recognized, as we do, that sexual orientation wasn't on the minds of legislators 53 years ago when it was trying to weed out prejudice -- and more importantly, it wasn't in the text of the law that passed! No bother, liberals said. We'll just rewrite the policy through our activist courts. 
And Tuesday, the 7th Circuit was more than willing to comply. "For many years," Chief Judge Diane Wood admitted, "the courts of appeals of this country understood the prohibition against sex discrimination to exclude discrimination on the basis of a person's sexual orientation." So by her own admission, there's absolutely no justification for rewriting the law. Still, she goes on, it's the court's responsibility to take a "fresh look" at its position. And in doing so, she writes, "we conclude today that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination."

FRC is attempting to argue that it disagrees with the court making this decision rather than leaving it up to legislators and Congress. The organization probably is angry over this fact. The rule has the potential to circumvent legislative bodies - places where religious right groups like FRC have success in hindering pro-lgbt laws.

And to me, that's what makes this victory even sweeter. It proves what I said yesterday about why anti-lgbt laws generally fail to get sanction by the courts. Courts are all about fairness and logic, not lies, horror stories, junk science or religious entitlement.

If you can't use logic to sway courts, you generally fail.


Julia said...

The cry of "activist courts" is nothing new. We've heard it from groups like FRC and various republicans after every ruling favourable to LGBTs, Marriage Equality especially.

Ironically enough, a refutation of the FRC's position can be made by pointing to the late Justice Scalia's, hardly an ally to the LGBT community, ruling in Oncale v Sundower Offshore Services Inc, a case that dealt with the protection of a man sexually harassed at work under Title VII:

"Statutory prohibitions often go beyond the principal evil to cover reasonably comparable evils, and it is ultimately the provisions of our laws rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed"

It's this decision that the EEOC ruling protecting LGBT workers from discrimination under the Title VII, and the 4th Circuits decision is based. The Majority's ruling itself states about the Oncale case:

"The Court could not have been clearer: the fact that the enacting Congress may not have anticipated a particular application of the law cannot stand in the way of the provisions of the law that are on the books. It is therefore neither here nor there that the Congress that enacted the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and chose to include sex as a prohibited basis for employment discrimination (no matter why it did so) may not have realized or understood the full scope of the words it chose."

steevee said...

It's rather disgusting that they're so horrified by the simple notion that LGBT people deserve legal protection from being fired for their sexuality or gender identity. Fairness and a level playing field, anyone? These Christians probably think it's fine that 40% of trans women are forced into sex work.