By: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals handed the Trump administration another defeat as the judges voted 10 to 3 on Monday that the Civil Rights Act protects gay and bisexual workers from sexual orientation discrimination.
The ruling is a stunning defeat for the anti-LGBT Trump administration and its mouth piece and soldier of the crusade to send the LGBTQ community back 20 years, Attorney Jeff Session.
Sessions and his extreme right wing Justice Department argued before the court that “Title VII of the 1964 law does not include protections for gay and bisexual people.”
Just as it has been ruled in several other cases which were brought by conservative groups against LGBT protections in the workplace, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination, which is explicitly banned in the Lyndon Johnson-era legislation.
“A woman who is subject to an adverse employment action because she is attracted to women would have been treated differently if she had been a man who was attracted to women. We can therefore conclude that sexual orientation is a function of sex and, by extension, sexual orientation discrimination is a subset of sex discrimination.” wrote Judge Robert Katzman in the majority opinion.
The case involved Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor who sued his New York-based employer back in 2010 after he was terminated simply because a customer complained that he was gay. Unfortunately Zarda didn’t live to see this verdict as he died in a BASE-jumping accident.
However that didn’t stop the case because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sided with Zarda in his case but, the current anti-LGBT Justice Department ruled by Attorney Jeff Sessions decided to fight the Zarda case by sending in DOJ attorney to argue before the court that Congress never intended to protect the LGBTQ community from workplace discrimination.
“There is a common-sense difference between sex discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination,” argued a Justice Department attorney back in September to the court. Which by the way is the same argument that was used by Donald Zarda’s former employer Altitude Express Inc.
While the ruling this week is a victory, we must remember that there are no Federal Laws that protect the LGBTQ community and the few that are on the books are only in a handfull of states.
The case isn’t over yet as we are sure to see the DOJ appeal the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme court but judging by the last two controversial cases that were submitted to the court and denied taking them up, we aren’t sure if Sessions wants to go down that hole a third time.
But we will see but hopefully as a skilled prosecutor in his day, I hope he remembers that recently the U.S Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to an 11th Circuit ruling that said “Protections against sex discrimination do not cover sexual orientation bias.”
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