Bucking a string of court rulings and the views of a separate U.S. agency, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday reversed the Justice Department’s support for the legal view trans workers are eligible for non-discrimination protections under current civil rights law.
In a two-page memo dated Oct. 4, Sessions informed Justice Department attorneys the U.S. government will no longer view the prohibition on sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to apply to discrimination on the basis of transgender status.
The memo is consistent with the Justice Department’s view under the Trump administration Title VII affords no non-discrimination protections to lesbian, gay and bisexual workers. Just last week, a Justice Department attorney argued before the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals the law doesn’t apply to an employment discrimination case filed by Donald Zarda, a deceased gay skydiver, because Congress didn’t intend Title VII to cover sexual orientation.
Session’s view reverses the position former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder staked out under the Obama administration in a 2014 memo affirming Title VII “encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.”
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement the Trump administration is “determined to promote discrimination through a false view of the law that has been rejected again and again by the courts.”
“The attorney general does not get to make law, but he should at least read it,” Keisling said. “Simply: He is once again abdicating his responsibilities to enforce the law. Courts have repeatedly ruled that transgender people are protected by sex discrimination laws in employment, education, housing and healthcare. We’ll see him in court.” Read more via Washington Blade