PGN has covered various court cases this year that mention the Civil Rights Act and whether it covers LGBTQ individuals. Most recently has been the case of Aimee Stephens, a trans woman who was fired from her job as a funeral director due to her transition.
Last week, the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice filed a brief saying Supreme Court justices should throw out a lower court ruling that sided with Stephens. The brief states that in 1964, the year the Civil Rights Act was signed into law, “the ordinary public meaning of ‘sex’ was biological sex. It did not encompass transgender status.”
This week, more than 50 Republican members of Congress filed a new brief stating their opposition to LGBTQ rights, inferring that three queer individuals seeking job protections, including Aimee Stephens, are exploiting the law. Attorney Generals from 15 states also sided with the Trump Administration.
The brief, written by Timothy Newton and Kenneth Sterr, who recommended impeaching President Clinton in 1988, argues Congress alone should debate civil rights protections.
In addition, the brief misgenders Aimee Stephens and describes why R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes should have been able to fire her.
Along with Stephens’ case, there are two gay discrimination cases that will appear before the SCOTUS when the new session opens: Gerald Lynn Bostock and the estate of the now-deceased Donald Zarda.
The brief targeted all three cases and was filed shortly after Log Cabin Republicans chose to endorse Trump in the 2020 election.
Because it is becoming increasingly clear that a national Equality Act is not likely to pass under the current administration, it seems even more vital for Pennsylvanians to turn toward the Fairness Act for hope, which, in various iterations, has failed to pass for decades.
In September, Congress resumes both in Pennsylvania and nationally, placing the LGBTQ community at risk for experiencing new laws that could set dangerous precedents. But, we are also in a position to advocate for our rights and let our congress people know what we need from state legislation during a federal backlash against LGBTQ rights and privileges.
Here, PGN will do its job reporting LGBTQ news as it comes, so that we all can be more informed about legislation that affects us individually and as a community.