Monday, May 23, 2016

Title VII & Title IX

Do you know the history of why “sex” was added to Titles VII & IX, it is a very interesting story and started a path that lead to the courts ruling that we were covered by the Civil Rights Act.
How A Poison Pill Worded As 'Sex' Gave Birth To Transgender Rights
By NPR Staff
May 15, 2016

The legal case over transgender rights hinges on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion and sex. But the word "sex" wasn't always going to be part of the bill. And "sex" — which, at the time was meant to mean gender — was not on that list when the bill came to the House.
On how the word "sex" ended up in the Civil Rights Act
It got in there in a mischievous way in the final phase of the Florida bill in the House of Representatives, when Howard Smith, an elderly Virginian, unrepentant segregationist and racist and chairman of the rules committee — which was the absolute bottleneck that had held all such rules hostage for years — decided to insert it. And there's some disagreement about exactly why he did it. Most people think he did it as a poison pill, to kind of make people vote against the bill because it would be so ludicrous on the face of it to protect women in a bill that was intended to end racial discrimination.
On why Judge Smith thought putting "sex" in the bill would doom it in the Senate
I think he thought that there were a bunch of people who thought that anti-discrimination should not be enshrined in federal law. There was another school of thought that in the early 20th century, it was seen as progressive to limit the hours and working responsibilities of women as a humane gesture and in places like Virginia, where the textile mills depended on female labor, that meant that there were severe restrictions that limited what many manufacturers could demand of female workers. So a very cynical view could hold that Judge Smith wanted to eliminate that safeguard for women in his home state and there would be a boon to manufacturers who could in fact treat women just like men and make them tote the barge and lift the bale and get more work out of them.
Up until the Civil Rights Act discrimination was a state’s right, that the states had a right to discriminate against a minorities in their states and that the federal government should butt out.

But that all changed when the Act was passed. What lead up to the Civil Rights Act was a court case,
Following World War II, pressures to recognize, challenge, and change inequalities for minorities grew. One of the most notable challenges to the status quo was the 1954 landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas which questioned the notion of "separate but equal" in public education. The Court found that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" and a violation of the 14th Amendment. This decision polarized Americans, fostered debate, and served as a catalyst to encourage federal action to protect civil rights.
And the law didn’t pass easily it was a long drawn out battle over states’ rights,
The real battle was waiting in the Senate, however, where concerns focused on the bill's expansion of federal powers and its potential to anger constituents who might retaliate in the voting booth. Opponents launched the longest filibuster in American history, which lasted 57 days and brought the Senate to a virtual standstill.

Senate minority leader Everett Dirksen nurtured the bill through compromise discussions and ended the filibuster. Dirksen's compromise bill passed the Senate after 83 days of debate that filled 3,000 pages in the Congressional Record. The House moved quickly to approve the Senate bill.
And part of that battle to defeat the bill was the addition of “sex” to the bill.

Once again the battle is over states’ rights, the right to discriminate against a part of the state’s population and in our case the LGBT people of the state. Once again the Fourteenth Amendment will play an important part in the legal discussion.

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