On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that federal Title VII civil rights law prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of “sex” applied to “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
The decision applied to three cases brought before the court: Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, and most notably R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Aimee Stephens & EEOC.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, an appointee of President Donald Trump, authored the majority opinion, concluding that LGBT identity was linked to sex despite that not being the original intention of the 1964 civil rights legislation.
“The statute’s message for our cases is equally simple and momentous: An individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions,” wrote Gorsuch.
“That’s because it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”
Although the decision left open the possibility of employers being exempted on religious grounds, many conservatives have expressed outrage over the ruling.
Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan, argued that “redefining ‘sex’ to mean ‘gender identity’ creates chaos, with widespread consequences for everyone.” That includes undermining dignity, privacy, and equal opportunities for women, it said.
Harris Funeral Homes was sued after firing its funeral director, Anthony Stephens, who changed his name to Aimee and expressed that he would begin to identify and dress as a female. The Christian owner, Tom Rost, was concerned about the grieving families and female employees who would have to share the women’s restroom with Stephens.
“The bottom line is that ignoring biological reality in our laws threatens our freedoms of conscience, religion, and speech,” ADF said.
Here are five reactions by conservative Christian leaders and organizations to the ruling. They include concerns for religious liberty and objections to “judicial activism.”
Denny Burk, professor at Boyce College and president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, took to Twitter to denounce the Supreme Court decision.
Burk compared it to the controversial 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which struck down most legal restrictions against abortion access.
“Up until now, our country has been debating legislative proposals like ENDA, the Equality Act, & Fairness for All,” tweeted Burk. “This decision sweeps all that democratic deliberation aside & imposes the Equality Act by judicial fiat.”
Burk also called on supporters to “Pray for Christian business owners” because “their ability to operate their business in accordance with their religious conscience just took a major blow.”
“The Supreme Court just [eviscerated] religious liberty. Cannot overstate how disastrous this decision is,” he added.
American Principles Project
The American Principles Project, a conservative organization that previously called on Americans to reject the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling legalizing gay marriage, denounced the decision.
APP Executive Director Terry Schilling called the LGBT employment decision “terrible” and a “reckless power grab” from the Supreme Court.
“Judicial activism wins again,” stated Schilling. “While the Court majority may claim that its decision today only applies to employment decisions, the reality is that it will have a monumental effect on all of American society.”
“Will women’s sports leagues now have to admit any male athlete who identifies as a female? Will private spaces for women — such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and even battered women’s shelters — now be found to violate federal law as well? All these issues and more are now up for grabs.”
Andrew T. Walker
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Public Theology Professor Andrew T. Walker took to Twitter to label the decision “devastating for religious liberty.”
“It just gave the spirit of the Equality Act in a legal opinion, rather than in statute,” tweeted Walker, who added that a key argument for social conservatives to vote for Donald Trump in November had been negated.
“Gorsuch writing the opinion eviscerates the main rationale that religious conservatives have in voting for Trump. ‘But Gorsuch’ is moot.”
In another tweet, Walker charged that the Supreme Court opinion “impails religious liberty,” “treats men and women as nothing more than a conglomeration of stereotypes,” and “engages in a politically correct form of erasure.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski