The Justice Department just reversed a policy prohibiting discrimination against transgender workers
Oct 06 2017
According to a memo dated Wednesday that was obtained by BuzzFeed, Sessions has instructed US attorneys and the heads of federal agencies to stop interpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a protection on the basis of gender identity.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded an Obama-era government policy that stated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects transgender people in the workplace from discrimination.
But Sessions reportedly wrote Wednesday that the law should be enforced as Congress wrote it - and not how some choose to interpret it - adding that it never explicitly protects transgender people.
"The text of Title VII, federal case law, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission all support interpreting and applying Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination to cover the stark discrimination faced by transgender individuals", said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
As BuzzFeed News highlights, Sessions' directive also includes a particularly disturbing sentiment: that this will be the government's position in the present and future under the Trump administration.
As Warbelow noted, "the DOJ's jaw-dropping policy conflicts with years of interpretation from both the U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit courts".
In a memo that BuzzFeed obtained, Sessions said that the Justice Department will no longer interpret Title VII of of the Civil Rights Act to mean that the law's protections extend to discrimination based on gender identity.
Embracing that trend, former attorney general Eric Holder under President Obama announced the Justice Department would take that position as well, issuing a memo in 2014 that said, "I have determined that the best reading of Title VII's prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status".
"It's ironic for them to say this is law, and not policy", McGowan told BuzzFeed.
For years now, Pennsylvania lawmakers have been tryijng to enshrine similar workplace protections based on gender identifity and sexual orientation in state human relations law, only to be batted back by troglodytic culture warriors in the General Assembly.
DOJ spokesperson Devin O'Malley defended the decision, asserting that Sessions was restoring Title VII back to congressional interpretation.
"The Justice Department must and will continue to affirm the dignity of all people, including transgender individuals".
Gender identity is different from sexual orientation.
"The Department of Justice can not expand the law beyond what Congress has provided", O'Malley said.
"Unfortunately, the last administration abandoned that fundamental principle, which necessitated [the] action", the statement continued.