The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today 6-3 against a Christian funeral home’s freedom to operate according to its understanding of sexuality that is rooted in the facts of science and human history.
The Harris Funeral Homes, a family operated business for more than a hundred years, was challenged by a male employee who said that he would no longer follow the company dress code of wearing sex-specific clothes for work.
This led to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) suing the funeral home, and the case made its way to the Supreme Court.
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“Allowing judges to rewrite the Civil Rights Act to add gender identity as a protected class poses a grave threat to religious liberty. We’ve already witnessed in recent years how courts have used the redefinition of words as a battering ram to crush faith-based businesses and organizations,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neal Gorsuch sided with liberals to delivering a stunning blow to the nation’s Christian community.
“Notwithstanding my concern about the Court’s transgression of the Constitution’s separation of powers, it is appropriate to acknowledge the important victory achieved today by gay and lesbian Americans,” Justice Bret Kavanaugh wrote in his dissent. “Millions of gay and lesbian Americans have worked hard for many decades to achieve equal treatment in fact and in law. They have exhibited extraordinary vision, tenacity, and grit—battling often steep odds in the legislative and judicial arenas, not to mention in their daily lives. They have advanced powerful policy arguments and can take pride in today’s result.”
Justice Samuel Alito said the majority went too far, calling the decision “legislation,” in a dissent joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.
“There is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation. The document that the Court releases is in the form of a judicial opinion interpreting a statute, but that is deceptive,” Alito wrote.
The court justified their inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity under Title VII by focusing on the law’s language, which prohibits discrimination “because of” sex, stating that as long as sex is a factor the discrimination, that is enough to trigger Title VII.
“Ours is a society of written laws. Judges are not free to overlook plain statutory commands on the strength of nothing more than suppositions about intentions or guesswork about expectations. In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee,” said the court’s opinion, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the funeral home, said the ruling is devastating.
“Redefining ‘sex’ to mean ‘gender identity’ will create chaos and enormous unfairness for women and girls in athletics, women’s shelters, and many other contexts,” ADF’s John Bursch said. “Civil rights laws that use the word ‘sex’ were put in place to protect equal opportunities for women. Allowing a court or government bureaucrats to redefine a term with such a clear and important meaning undermines those very opportunities—the ones the law was designed to protect.”