Court rules MI woman was unlawfully fired for being transgender

Aimee Stephens.- ACLU

Aimee Stephens.- ACLU

An appeals court has ruled that a Michigan-based Christian-owned funeral home must allow a male employee who identifies as female to dress in women's clothes despite their moral objections.

While Stephens claims she was sacked based on the owner's Christian beliefs, which don't align with her transgender lifestyle, the funeral home claims it was simply upholding its gender-specific dress code. When she informed her boss, Thomas Rost, of her intention to transition from male to female, Rost fired her. Stephens then filed a complaint with the EEOC.

The Sixth Circuit decision reverses a lower court, granting judgment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on whether Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act's covers transgender workers.

"Moreover, whatever this Court would say about the question were it writing on a blank slate, Congress has made clear through its actions and inactions in this area that Title VII's prohibition of sex discrimination does not encompass sexual orientation discrimination".

"The court finds that the funeral home has met its initial burden of showing that enforcement of Title VII, and the body of sex-stereotyping case law that has developed under it, would impose a substantial burden on its ability to conduct business in accordance with its sincerely-held religious beliefs", wrote Cox. Rost has argued he was justified in firing Aimee Stephens because he opposes transgenderism and homosexuality, based on his Christian beliefs dictating that gender is fixed and binary.

According to Kaplan, employment discrimination against transgender people is pervasive and, as a result, many live in poverty; so this decision "gives a great deal of hope to a lot of people out there".

Allegiant to add 3 new routes to Myrtle Beach Airport in June
Beginning Wednesday, June 6, the airport will service twice-weekly routes to both Ft. Stanley, chairman, Capital Region Airport Commission.

Representing Harris Funeral Home in the case was Alliance Defending Freedom, a anti-LGBT legal firm that has engaged in efforts nationwide to promote the idea religious liberty should take precedent over LGBT rights. He said in a statement that the opinion "rewrites federal law and is directly contrary to decisions from other federal appellate courts".

But the Sixth Circuit ruling said its conclusions were no burden to the religious beliefs of the funeral home's operator, so it was not protected. "It does address the funeral home's religious excuse in a comprehensive and powerful way. We are consulting with our client to consider their options for appeal". "The SEP includes "coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII's sex discrimination provisions, as they may apply" as a top commission enforcement priority", said the EEOC. "We are thrilled for Aimee, and for all trans folks, to be able to announce this win today". The Eleventh Circuit, on the other hand, declined to overturn its prior precedent saying that sexual orientation bias isn't expressly prohibited under the 1964 law.

The panel's ruling also goes against a memorandum from the Trump administration issued last October in which Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained that Title VII's sex discrimination clause is about biological sex and not gender identity.

The EEOC didn't immediately respond March 7 to Bloomberg Law's request for comment.

Dan Korobkin, ACLU of Michigan's deputy legal director, said he doesn't know what the legal remedy will be, but cases of this nature often result in some sort of compensation for the person's loss of employment.

Dan Korobkin, deputy legal director for the ACLU of MI, called it a "path-breaking decision" that builds on other, precedent-setting cases.

Recommended News

  • UCI chief looks into Team Sky issue

    UCI chief looks into Team Sky issue

    The Frenchman said that such practices could be called cheating even if they were not against the rules. David Lappartient, president of the world governing body UCI, has said Froome should not be racing.
    Mike Gesicki is a freak, dominates tight ends at NFL Scouting Combine

    Mike Gesicki is a freak, dominates tight ends at NFL Scouting Combine

    A pectoral injury during the bench press yesterday caused him to miss today's events altogether. After his combine performance, he can all but kiss any chance of being in the top 10 goodbye.
    Famed Evangelist Billy Graham's Funeral Draws Thousands

    Famed Evangelist Billy Graham's Funeral Draws Thousands

    The death of Billy Graham last Wednesday stopped us all and caused us to ponder his insurmountable impact on our nation. Billy Graham passed away February 21, the world lost arguably the most influential religious figure of a generation.
  • Santa Barbara County sheriff announces mandatory evacuations ahead of storm

    Santa Barbara County sheriff announces mandatory evacuations ahead of storm

    The storm will continue to bring showers to Southern California into Saturday according to forecasters. They affect the coastal communities of Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpenteria and Summerland.
    The problem with Tripura exit poll predictions

    The problem with Tripura exit poll predictions

    Three north-eastern states - Meghalaya , Nagaland and Tripura are eagerly waiting for the Assembly Election Results 2018. Ahead of Saturday's counting, both the CPI-M and the BJP claimed that they will form the next government in the state.
    Comcast bids $31 billion for Sky TV, undermining Fox

    Comcast bids $31 billion for Sky TV, undermining Fox

    Comcast's $31 billion bid to buy United Kingdom broadcaster Sky is not just an attempt to thwart Disney or to expand globally. If 21st Century Fox wished to counter Comcast's offer, it would likely need approval from Disney .
  • Amazon Prime Membership Just Became Cheaper for Millions of People

    Amazon Prime Membership Just Became Cheaper for Millions of People

    But customers won't be able to share their Prime membership with a second adult, as with a regularly priced Prime membership. Amazon announced plans Wednesday to slash the monthly cost of Prime membership for Medicaid recipients.

    European Union could reject Northern Ireland border proposals, Republic's deputy PM suggests

    She promised no cherry picking of the EU's best bits, but maintained her red lines around the free movement of labor and Europe's customs union.

    North Korea threatens to "counter" U.S. over military drills

    Additionally, besides the Olympics, there has been continued high-level discussions among both Koreas as well. Syria's government has been accused of using chemical weapons during the civil war, including in Ghouta.
  • Unruly traveler subdued by passengers on Boise-bound United flight

    Unruly traveler subdued by passengers on Boise-bound United flight

    Smith , from California, was sitting behind the woman and what appeared to be her travelling companion. The SkyWest Airlines plane was headed from San Francisco to Idaho , and had 73 passengers on board.
    M*A*S*H actor dead at 75

    M*A*S*H actor dead at 75

    He also played Jumba in popular cartoon movie Lilo and Stitch. Charles Emerson Winchester III in M*A*S*H from 1977 to 1983. In addition to playing the aristocratic Maj.
    Kylie Jenner shares insane one month post-baby body

    Kylie Jenner shares insane one month post-baby body

    But now that the 20-year-old's little girl is one month old, it seems that she decided it's time to share a few more photos. Filming herself in the mirror, the new mother flashed plenty of flesh as her raven locks cascaded down to her peachy behind.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.