Civil and Human Rights

RELEASE: Title VII Ruling A Clear Victory for Equality

WASHINGTON – On news that the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Bostock v. Clayton County and related cases, ruling that “an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII,” CAC President Elizabeth Wydra issued the following statement:

Today’s ruling is a clear victory for equality. 

It is also a victory for reading the text of a statute like Title VII in light of the original meaning of its words, even when those meanings are unpopular with one or another political faction. 

As we argued in a brief the Constitutional Accountability Center and Professor Katie Eyer submitted on behalf of statutory interpretation and equality law scholars, when an employer fires a woman because she is attracted to women, for instance, but not a man who is attracted to women, that action is necessarily “because of … sex” even under the narrowest definition of “sex” that existed in 1964 when Title VII was enacted. In the same way, when an employer fires a transgender woman for identifying and presenting as a woman, that action is necessarily “because of … sex” because the employer would not have fired her for identifying and presenting as a woman if she had been assigned the female sex at birth.

The Court squarely recognized that reality today. As Justice Gorsuch wrote, “An employer who discriminates against homosexual or transgender employees necessarily and intentionally applies sex-based rules.” That is exactly right, and we are gratified the Court reached this historic conclusion.

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Resources:

CAC brief in cases consolidated or linked with Bostock v. Clayton County: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/bostock-v-clayton-county-altitude-express-v-zarda-and-r-g-g-r-harris-funeral-homes-v-eeoc/

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Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.

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