President Trump is again being scrutinized for his administration’s stance on yet another key civil rights issue, as government lawyers made it clear to a U.S. appeals court in a legal filing made public on Wednesday, July 26, that federal law does not ban discrimination against gay employees.
The U.S. Department of Justice, in a court brief, said that Congress never intended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to apply to gay workers.
The law bans discrimination in the workplace on the basis of gender and not sexual orientation. However, the law, established in 1964, does not explicitly state that, according to Maureen Foody of WN.com.
The brief came shortly after President Trump announced transgender people would no longer be able to serve in the military. This would reverse the 2016 policy pushed though Congress by the Obama administration.
Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said the brief was consistent with rulings by 10 federal appeals courts.
A lawsuit filed by Donald Zarda, a former employee of Altitude Express, was the basis of the department’s brief. DOJ supported the New York skydiving company, because they said sex discrimination only occurs when someone is hired or not based on their gender.
Zarda claimed he lost his job as a skydiving instructor after he told a customer he was gay and she complained. He soon died after filing the lawsuit in a base-jumping accident .
After Zarda’s case, there were similar cases that were also not protected under Title VII, as the Justice Department argued employers act in discrimination cases only when they treat male and female workers differently.
Treating homosexual employees differently is dependent on one’s moral or religion beliefs, which isn’t dependent upon the employee’s gender.
“Of course, if an employer fired only gay men but not gay women (or vice versa), that would be prohibited by Title VII,” DOJ wrote. “But precisely because it would be discrimination based on sex, not sexual orientation.”