The Justice Department filed an amicus brief Friday aimed at reversing the trend of lower courts interpreting existing federal law to prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. The brief argued that the ban on “sex” discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers from bias because it was not the original intent of lawmakers when they passed the legislation.
The administration filed the briefs in two cases to which it was not a party. In other words, the Justice Department went out of its way to argue for the right of businesses to discriminate against LGB workers. The department also filed a motion seeking time to make oral arguments before the High Court next month when the case is heard, reports BuzzFeed’s Dominic Holden. The motion argued that the “United States has a substantial interest” in resolving whether Title VII covers sexual orientation, or more to the point, it has a substantial interest in clearing the way for religious conservatives to target people based on their sexual orientation.
The move follows on a brief from the department last week in which government lawyers argued transgender workers were also not protected by the civil rights statute, claiming that the prohibition on sex discrimination only pertains to “biological sex.”
Federal statute does not currently provide explicit workplace protections for gay and transgender workers. However, over the last decade federal courts and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have increasingly concluded that discrimination against transgender and gay workers violates Title VII.