Department of Justice Mounts Yet Another Attack on LGBTQ Protections

Memo Reverses Government Policy, Stating Transgender Workers Not Protected From Discrimination Under Title VII

October 5, 2017 — For Immediate Release

NEW YORK — In a memo published yesterday, the Department of Justice takes the dramatic step of formally reversing federal government policy established by the Obama Administration stating that transgender workers are protected from workplace discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This memo provides further evidence of the all-out assault on existing protections for LGBTQ people from the Department of Justice, under the leadership of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and with the blessing of the Trump Administration.

The memo states that “Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.” This position runs directly counter to that previously adopted and formalized as policy by the Department of Justice, which followed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), legal consensus among federal judges, and a growing body of case law that Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination applies both to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Alongside the Department of Justice’s recent, unsolicited brief in the 2nd Circuit Zarda case (in which employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is addressed) and the Trump Administration’s attempt to ban transgender military service, this latest development makes clear that the LGBTQ community is facing a coordinated attack from a Department of Justice intent on reversing gains made over the past decade.

Family Equality Council CEO Stan J. Sloan said today: “With this latest attack on discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, the Department of Justice and the Trump Administration show how out of touch they are with the majority of Americans. Public opinion, federal courts, and case law demonstrate a consensus that LGBTQ people deserve to be protected from discrimination at home, at work, at school, and in public. Family Equality Council stands firm in our commitment to achieving legal and lived equality, and rejects in the strongest terms the continued attacks on our community coming from the Department of Justice.”

About Family Equality Council

Family Equality Council advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality Council believes every LGBTQ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live.