Friday, August 19, 2016

A Battle In The War Lost

We lost a skirmish in the war for our rights, but it is only one battle.
Federal court upholds firing of transgender funeral director
Judge says transgender not protected class, funeral home can't be made to go against religious beliefs
Detroit Free Press
By Tresa Baldas,
August 18, 2016

In a decision that favored religious freedom over transgender rights in the workplace, a federal judge ruled today that a metro Detroit funeral home did not discriminate against an employee when it fired her for transitioning from a man into a woman.

That's because transgender individuals are not a protected class under federal employment laws, the judge ruled, and the funeral home can't be forced to make employment decisions that go against its sincerely held religious beliefs.
In this case, the funeral home owner believed that a person’s sex is a “God-given gift," and that the government can't  force him to abandon that belief.

U.S. District Judge Sean Cox agreed.
"The funeral home's owner admits that he fired (the employee) because (the employee) intended to 'dress as a woman' while at work," Cox wrote in his ruling. But, he added, forcing the funeral home owner to do otherwise  "would impose a substantial burden on its ability to conduct business in accordance with its sincerely held religious beliefs."
Moreover, Cox stressed: "Significantly, neither transgender status nor gender identity are protected classes under Title VII."
This is horrible! This ruling grants special rights to anyone to disobey any law because they can claim without proof that it violates their religious beliefs.
ACLU attorney Jay Kaplan, who initially interceded on her behalf, believes it was discrimination disguised as a religious view. And Cox's decision, he said, will only allow more such workplace discrimination to take place.

"This case represents the dangerous slippery slope. Any individual employer can cite their own religious beliefs to discriminate," Kaplan said, noting the funeral home is not a religious organization, but strictly a business. "It's not a religious funeral home. It serves all denominations, and yet because the owner professed a particular viewpoint toward transgender people, he can willfully violate civil rights laws?  ... It’s a highly flawed decision. ... This is now open season to justify discrimination by individuals and businesses against various groups of people."
This ruling opens the door to businesses refusing to hire Jews, Muslims, blacks, or any other protected classes and they have to do is say the magic words…”It is against my religious beliefs.” and if they only say that it applies to LGBT then that violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendmant.

And the judge’s claim that "Significantly, neither transgender status nor gender identity are protected classes under Title VII." doesn’t hold water either. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit was the latest court to rule that it is covered under Title VII and they based their ruling on many, many lower court cases that ruled that we are covered under Title VII and they based their rulings on the Supreme Court’s Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins in 1989 where the court ruled that sex discriminate was much more than “sex” but also covered sex stereotyping.

It was President George W. Bush who nominated Cox to the federal bench and in this election cycle we have maybe three Supreme Court justices’ appointments along with many lower court opening for judges which the Republican controlled Senate has refused to fill.

So when you say that because of your conscious that you cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, what does your conscious say about letting the courts be packed with conservative judges?

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