On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that federal Title VII civil rights law prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of “sex” applied to “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
The decision applied to three cases brought before the court: Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, and most notably R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Aimee Stephens & EEOC.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, an appointee of President Donald Trump, authored the majority opinion, concluding that LGBT identity was linked to sex despite that not being the original intention of the 1964 civil rights legislation.
“The statute’s message for our cases is equally simple and momentous: An individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions,” wrote Gorsuch.
“That’s because it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”
Although the decision left open the possibility of employers being exempted on religious grounds, many conservatives have expressed outrage over the ruling.
Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan, argued that “redefining ‘sex’ to mean ‘gender identity’ creates chaos, with widespread consequences for everyone.” That includes undermining dignity, privacy, and equal opportunities for women, it said.
Harris Funeral Homes was sued after firing its funeral director, Anthony Stephens, who changed his name to Aimee and expressed that he would begin to identify and dress as a female. The Christian owner, Tom Rost, was concerned about the grieving families and female employees who would have to share the women’s restroom with Stephens.
“The bottom line is that ignoring biological reality in our laws threatens our freedoms of conscience, religion, and speech,” ADF said.
Here are five reactions by conservative Christian leaders and organizations to the ruling. They include concerns for religious liberty and objections to “judicial activism.”