WASHINGTON, DC – The Supreme Court announced on Monday that later this year the justices will hear arguments on whether federal law forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in the first major LGBT cases since Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement.
Title VII in federal law forbids discrimination on various bases, including race and sex. For years, LGBT activists tried to get Congress to amend Title VII to cover sexual identity and gender identity. When those efforts proved unsuccessful, those activists switched gears to argue that the term “sex” in Title VII already covers gay and transgender individuals, and therefore that new legislation is not necessary.
The lower federal courts have wrestled with this issue over the past few years. In recent months, President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice filed briefs arguing that when Congress enacted Title VII in 1964, the term “sex” clearly meant biological sex. But the liberal-dominated Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) argued that “sex” covers orientation and identity as well.
Now the Supreme Court will weigh in on the matter. The justices granted writs of certiorari to review two cases in which gay persons claimed they were discriminated against by their employers. These cases have been consolidated for one hour of oral argument.
The Court also took a case from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) involving a funeral home. In that case, a man who previously dressed as a man now identifies as female and was terminated for insisting on wearing women’s clothing and using a woman’s name.
These will be the first LGBT cases the Court has heard since Justice Brett Kavanaugh replaced Justice Anthony Kennedy, who had been the swing vote on LGBT issues from 1996 through 2018. The cases will be argued in late fall, with decisions expected in the first half of 2020.
The sexual orientation cases are Bostock v. Clayton County, No. 17-1618, and Altitude Express v. Zarda, No. 17-1623, at the Supreme Court of the United States.
The transgender case is R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, No. 18-107 at the Supreme Court of the United States.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal analyst for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.