Chairman Raskin Statement on Landmark Supreme Court Ruling Prohibiting Workplace Discrimination Against LGBTQ Americans
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, released the following statement after the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination against gay and transgender individuals:
“The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in Bostock is a landmark moment in American history that brings us one step closer to fulfilling our nation’s founding promise—that all people are created equal and deserve equal treatment under the law. In a remarkable opinion that brings together Justices from both the liberal and conservative ends of the ideological spectrum, the Court has given an important victory not only to the LGBTQ+ community and their families but all Americans who believe in equal rights and equal justice.
“This opinion, which comes in the middle of Pride Month, is a triumph for all of the LGBTQ+ activists who have fought for decades against the forces of bigotry, discrimination and oppression—often putting their own lives at risk in the process—in order to make a more perfect Union. It is also an enduring and fitting legacy for Donald Zarda and Aimee Stephens. Neither of them lived to see this victory, but their stories are now forever interwoven in the long American quest for freedom and equality.
“The Court’s reasoning in Bostock demonstrates how dramatically out of step the Trump Administration’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies are. The Trump Administration’s amicus brief in this case—which shamefully advocated a legally specious and morally repugnant reading of Title VII that excluded gay and transgender employees—could not even garner the support of Chief Justice Roberts or Justice Gorsuch. This well-reasoned decision should force the Administration to reverse and withdraw the endless stream of discriminatory policies it has announced, including:
- A new rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just last week that rolled back protections for transgender Americans against sex discrimination in healthcare. This rule reverses the Obama Administration’s rule protecting LGBTQ+ Americans under the nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act, and was finalized on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre, the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ+ community in U.S. history. The Administration must reverse this rule.
- Repeated arguments by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to exclude LGBTQ+ Americans from federal civil rights protections, including a narrow reading of Title VII that the Supreme Court has emphatically rejected today. The DOJ must immediately retract these interpretations.
- Several rules issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) that would make it significantly easier for federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ+ employees. DOL must revoke these rules.
- Legal guidance from the Department of Education that withdrew Title IX protections from transgender students. A Department spokesperson has confirmed that this means there will not be investigations of any complaints made by transgender students who were banned from bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. The Department of Education must withdraw that guidance.
- A ban on transgender Americans from serving in the U.S. military, which included a call by President Trump himself to halt all Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) resources to pay for gender reassignment services for military personnel. DOD must rescind this harmful policy.
“This list, while in no way exhaustive, is illustrative of the Trump Administration’s thoroughgoing ideological assault on LGBTQ+ rights, an effort that has coarsened our politics and aggrieved millions of American citizens who have done nothing but live as their authentic selves. While the moral imperative of enshrining equality for LGBTQ+ Americans has been clear for decades, today’s opinion makes it clear that the legal arguments for denying this reality are increasingly frail, illogical and obsolete.
“Finally, the Senate must immediately take up the Equality Act, which passed the House last year, to codify more extensive legal protections for LGBTQ+ Americans. After today’s opinion, the Trump Administration’s deep misunderstanding of the meaning of religious liberty can no longer be a barrier to equal rights nor an excuse to deny LGBTQ+ Americans full participation in our economy and our society. It is time for the rest of our government to join the Supreme Court in affirming the equality of all.”
On February 27, 2020, Chairman Raskin, along with Chairwoman Maloney, held a hearing on the Trump Administration’s assault on LGBTQ+ rights, which examined how the Administration has been working to turn back the clock on LGBTQ+ rights and erode hard-won victories both in the courts and in the Executive Branch.