Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry joins 15 other state Republican officials in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reject workplace protections that would prevent transgender people from being fired for their gender identity.
Landry recently signed onto a 20- page briefing, asking that the Supreme Court overturn a case from the Federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled a Michigan funeral home unlawfully fired a woman after she came out as transgender to her employer.
The court ruled that “discrimination against employees, either because of their failure to conform to sex stereotypes or their transgender and transitioning status, is illegal under Title VII.”
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals further elaborated, stating that they used Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin” to include “sex” to cover a person gender identity.
This ruling has caused controversy, as the briefing states “The role of the courts is to interpret the law, not to rewrite the law by adding a new, unintended meaning.”
The Republican briefing argues that the 6th Circuit’s opinion below erases all common understandings of the term “sex” in Title VII, and expands it to include “gender identity” and “transgender.”
The briefing stated: “When congress enacted Title 7, virtually every dictionary definition of sex referred to physiological distinctions between females, and males, particularly with respect to their reproductive functions.”
“Regardless of whether the Title VII actually covers gender identity or sexual orientation, it’s ridiculous that it’s something that still needs to be said,” said Arin, a Northwestern State University student who identifies as a non-binary transgender person and requested to only have their first name used. “It says it right there in the Constitution that ‘all men are created equal.’”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is no stranger to the legal battle at hand. In 2016, he issued an executive order to place workplace protections for people inside the LGBT community, though this was stopped by Landry.
“I happen to think [Jeff Landry] is on the wrong side of history,” Gov. Edwards told The Current Sauce. “I think the people of Louisiana are much more tolerant in terms of making sure people don’t face discrimination.”
“I know a good number of trans people who have been extremely afraid of coming out in their workplace because they were afraid of being fired, and I think that’s something that no one needs to worry about,” Arin said. “Especially when it’s something that’s part of your identity, that has nothing to do with how well you do your job.”