The Department of Justice Makes a Big Decision on Gay Rights

July 27, 2017Jul 27, 2017

On the same day that President Donald Trump announced that transgenders are barred from serving in the military, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in an appeals-court case concerning a man who was fired for telling a client that he was gay, according to The New York Times

The amicus brief basically says that Title VII under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not bar discrimination in the work place specifically for sexual orientation issues.

In the case, Donald Zarda, a sky diving instructor told a female client who was about to tandem jump with him said that she needn’t worry they were strapped so closely together – because he assured her that he was gay. The client’s husband complained to Zarda’s employer, Altitude Express, and Zarda was then fired. This occurred in 2010.

Zarda then sued his former employer, claiming that they had broken the law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The case is currently being decided in an appeals court.

The amicus brief filed by the Justice Department, spearheaded by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, claims that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not necessarily bar discrimination based on sexual orientation. What Title VII does specify is discrimination in the workplace based on “race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”

The amicus brief argues that since 1974 every Congress has declined to include within Title VII verbiage barring discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation. The reason that the federal government chose the Zarda case to file a brief is because the federal government is the largest employer in the country, and holds a vested interest in determining discrimination in the workplace.

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Next: Ivanka Faces Outrage After President Trump’s Transgender Military Announcement Jul 26, 2017