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Supreme Court sides with LGBT employees

Harris Funeral Homes owner Thomas Rost (right) and his wife, Nancy, appear outside the Supreme Court in October, when arguments in the case were heard. Associated Press/Photo by Susan Walsh (file)

Supreme Court sides with LGBT employees

Three employers who fired homosexual or transgender workers unlawfully discriminated against them on the basis of sex, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday. The decision expands the definition of “sex” in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. One of the employers in the case was a Christian funeral home whose owners said a male employee’s dressing as a woman at work would disturb bereaved families and violate their religious convictions about gender. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the court’s four liberal justices in the 6-3 decision. Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas dissented.

What does this mean for Christian employers? Harris Funeral Homes mentioned its Biblical convictions about gender in court proceedings but did not base its appeal to the high court on its religious beliefs, so the justices did not rule on the matter. Gorsuch, who wrote the opinion, said other employers could still attempt to claim a religious exception to Title VII in future cases. He also pointed out the court already ruled faith-based institutions have a right to hire and fire employees based on their religious beliefs, including beliefs about marriage and sexuality.

Dig deeper: Read Rachel Lynn Aldrich’s report in Liberties about the arguments in the cases.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is WORLD’s executive editor for news. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kan.



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