AG Reverses Policy on Gender-Identity Rights (Liberty Counsel)

Oct 9, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a new memorandum stating that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans gender discrimination, but does not include sexual orientation or gender identity, in the workplace.

Title VII specifically bars employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, race, color, national origin and religion. The Attorney General officially withdrew a 2014 Obama-era policy protecting so-called “transgender” employees from discrimination under Title VII. The Attorney General stated that the Department of Justice will no longer interpret Title VII to mean that the law’s protections extend to discrimination based on gender identity. Sessions said the change will apply to “all pending and future matters” relating to “transgender” workers, which means that it could have an immediate impact on open discrimination cases.

Sessions wrote in the memo: “Title VII expressly prohibits discrimination ‘because of…sex’…and several other protected traits, but it does not refer to gender identity. “Sex is ordinarily defined to mean biologically male or female. Congress has confirmed this ordinary meaning by expressly prohibiting, in several other statutes, ‘gender identity’ discrimination, which Congress lists in addition to, rather than within, prohibitions on discrimination based on ‘sex’ or ‘gender.’ Accordingly, Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status. Therefore, as of the date of this memorandum, which hereby withdraws the December 15, 2014, memorandum, the Department of Justice will take that position in all pending and future matters…”

“Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has never included sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “We commend Attorney General Jeff Sessions for ending the Obama-era policy that purported to allow Title VII to be interpreted to include so-called “transgender” employee rights,” said Staver.

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