Tom Rost never planned on being pulled into the center of a national debate on sex and gender. But today his case, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, will be argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Hanging in the balance is the meaning of “sex” in Title VII, the employment provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. If “sex” in that law is redefined to mean “gender identity,” that could create a ripple effect where “sex” is redefined in other federal laws, affecting nearly all Americans.
Redefining “sex” would create chaos. And it would present particular challenges for those who hold the basic Christian belief that God creates us male and female.
So, how did Tom get here? All Tom has wanted to do for most of his life is run his family’s Michigan business, Harris Funeral Homes, which is now over 100 years old.
At Harris Funeral Homes, Tom goes above and beyond to meet the needs of the grieving families he serves. He is constantly improving his funeral homes to make sure they are comfortable. He offers a grief counseling program for those who need it. And he even makes a follow-up call to every client to check on them about a month after the funeral.
Everything Tom does ensures that the families he serves can focus on processing their grief. To this end, Tom also wants to make sure his employees are dressed in a way that keeps the focus off them and on the families mourning their loss. That’s why Tom has a sex-specific dress code for all his staff members. This is perfectly legal under federal law and used by many funeral homes.
But in 2013, one of Tom’s male funeral directors announced a plan to begin dressing and presenting as a woman at work while serving grieving families. Tom took time to consider the employee’s plan. He considered the interests of this employee and also those of his female employees who would have to share restroom facilities with this male funeral director. And, as he always does, Tom considered the needs of the grieving families he serves.
After two weeks of deliberating, Tom concluded that he could not agree with the employee’s plan.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Maureen Collins