July 09, 2020

Members of Congress to President Trump: Remove Policies Discriminating Against LGBTQ Individuals

Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) and 116 members of Congress today called on President Trump to direct the federal government to remove all regulations, executive orders and agency policies that discriminate against LGBTQ individuals.

The letter comes after the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that prohibitions on sex discrimination in federal civil rights laws extend to sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.

“Since taking office, your administration has repeatedly issued dozens of regulatory and agency actions premised almost entirely on the claim that federal bans on sex discrimination do not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” the members wrote. “This argument attempts to sanction discrimination against LGBTQ people in a broad range of critical arenas, including in employment, health care, housing, and education.”

The members continued: “The Supreme Court’s unambiguous rejection of these discriminatory arguments means that the harmful policies put in place by your administration to permit discrimination against the LGBTQ community must immediately be reviewed and revoked or revised to make clear that protections apply to all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The law requires this action.”

Full text of the letter follows:

July 9, 2020

President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Trump:

In light of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, we request that your Administration direct all relevant agencies to undertake a review of all regulations, executive orders, and agency policies that implicate legal protections for LGBTQ individuals under federal civil rights laws.

Since taking office, your Administration has repeatedly issued dozens of regulatory and agency actions premised almost entirely on the claim that federal bans on sex discrimination do not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This argument attempts to sanction discrimination against LGBTQ people in a broad range of critical arenas, including in employment, health care, housing, and education. (See Attachment).

On June 15th, the Supreme Court decisively rejected this argument when it ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that prohibitions on sex discrimination in federal civil rights laws include sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. As the Court explained in a 6-3 decision authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch “[a]n employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

The Supreme Court’s opinion in Bostock addressed the meaning of “sex” discrimination under Title VII. But the Court’s reasoning applies with equal force to the term “sex” as used in several other federal civil rights laws – including those passed alongside Title VII to ban discrimination in housing and education, amongst others.

Your Administration argued against the employees in Bostock – taking the position that employers were free to fire LGBTQ workers simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Specifically, your Administration argued that Title VII’s “plain text makes clear that it does not” “forbid employment discrimination because of sexual orientation” and that applying Title VII to gender identity discrimination “would transform Title VII into a blanket prohibition on all sex-specific workplace practices.”

The Supreme Court’s unambiguous rejection of these discriminatory arguments means that the harmful policies put in place by your Administration to permit discrimination against the LGBTQ community must immediately be reviewed and revoked or revised to make clear that protections apply to all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The law requires this action. We therefore ask that the Administration immediately:

  1. Identify the steps it is taking to implement the Bostock decision and fully enforce our nation’s civil rights laws that prohibit sex discrimination.

  2. Review and revoke or revise all federal agency regulations, federal agency policies, and executive orders permitting discrimination against LGBTQ people, including but not limited to those on the attached list, and conduct a complete review to address all potentially discriminatory regulations, policies, or actions that require revocation or revision because they are now in direct conflict with the law.

All people should have confidence that their federal government is working to protect – not undermine – their rights. We therefore ask that you take immediate steps to ensure that LGBTQ people enjoy the full protections of the nation’s federal civil rights laws.

We appreciate your immediate attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

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