The Supreme Court is set to issue a ruling this month in a landmark case on gay and transgender rights, the Washington Examiner reports.
The left is bracing for outrage as the highest court, which currently leans right, considers whether to extend the meaning of sexuality as relates to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
SCOTUS to rule on transgender rights
According to NPR, the case is centered on a now-deceased transgender individual who was fired from a funeral home for failing to adhere to its dress code. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case, Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, back in October.
At issue is Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act — in particular, the meaning of sexuality in that statute — which bans employment discrimination based on sex. There are no illusions about the consequential nature of the case, which stands to impact not just the law but also how American culture fundamentally defines sexuality.
Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch predicted “massive social upheaval” if the liberal argument wins the day, although an opposite ruling seems more likely, as the high court has shifted to the right under President Donald Trump.
According to National Review, the conservative argument is straightforward — namely, that no one ever imagined Title VII to define sex as something untethered to biology, as progressives now do. That radical view, endorsed by Obama appointee Justice Elena Kagan, risks undermining the act’s protections, which were designed to benefit women.
“Redefining sex to mean gender identity creates chaos, is unfair to women and girls, and puts employers in difficult situations,” said an attorney who participated in the case, John Bursch of Alliance Defending Freedom. “Title VII and other civil rights laws, like Title IX, are in place to protect equal opportunities for women; changing sex to mean gender identity undermines that.”
Potentially pivotal precedent
The arguments in the case touch on issues that have become prominent in the culture wars, such as the question of whether transgender inclusion threatens the hard-won rights of women. The participation of biological men in women’s sports has been a particularly controversial topic.
The high court’s conservatives, including Gorsuch and Justice Samuel Alito, also fret that expanding the meaning of sexuality in Title VII would impact the right of religious groups to exercise their conscience.
“We can’t deny that homosexuals are being fired merely for being who they are and not because of religious reasons, not because they are performing their jobs poorly, not because they can’t do whatever is required of a position,” argued Justice Sonia Sotomayor, dismissing religious concerns.
There is also a risk that the ruling would affect the separation of powers by putting the court in the position of acting akin to a legislature, an argument echoed by Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the Examiner noted.
A conservative ruling would, without question, produce massive backlash on the progressive left. Precisely how the justices will rule on the matter remains to be seen.