Twenty state attorneys general have sued President Joe Biden’s administration over its guidelines for employers and schools on equal treatment of Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people.
Led by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, the Republican complaint challenges federal guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Education concerning issues that implement the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County.
The plaintiff in that case Gerald Bostock, who was fired after he expressed interest in a gay softball league at work, won a landmark United States Supreme Court civil rights case in which the justices held in a 6–3 decision that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees against discrimination because they are gay or transgender.
The court ruled that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is necessarily also discrimination “because of sex” as prohibited by Title VII.
The multi-state coalition — which is comprised entirely of Republicans — asks the nation’s top court to declare the EEOC and Education Department guidance invalid and to prohibit their enforcement.
Joining Tennessee on the lawsuit are Republican attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia.
Prior to 1962, all 50 states criminalized homosexual activity, but all such laws against intimate consensual sexual conduct among consenting adults acting in private, regardless of the sex of the participants, were overturned by the 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas decision, which reaffirmed the concept of a “right to privacy” that earlier cases, such as Roe v. Wade, had found the U.S. Constitution provides, even though it is not explicitly enumerated.
By 2015, LGBT Americans had won the right to marry nationwide and there have been numerous declarations that they are legally protected from discrimination in employment, housing, and access to public accommodations.
LGBT Americans still lack comprehensive legal protections from discrimination at the federal level and Republicans have been seeking to allow such bigotry because it has been successfully exploited to divide voters who might not otherwise support GOP candidates.
Republicans are now seeking to justify their opposition to expanding anti-discrimination protections for LGBT+ people as a defense of women, despite the fact that their records reveal some of the most radical, extreme opposition to women’s equality.
Lucas Acosta, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee pointed out that no current GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted for Violence Against Women Act reauthorization (2013), not one Republican co-sponsored the Senate Athletics Fair Pay Act (2019), and several committee members voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (2013), and the Paycheck Fairness Act (2014) that would advance equal pay for women.