Philosophers File Amicus Brief on LGBT Discrimination Cases

Philosophers File Amicus Brief on LGBT Discrimination Cases

This fall, the Supreme Court will be looking at a trio of cases concerning the protection Federal employment discrimination law provides to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. An amicus curiae brief signed by 80 philosophers, in support of the employees in the cases, has just been filed. The amicus brief was co-authored by philosopher Robin Dembroff (Yale) and law professor Issa Kohler-Hausmann (Yale), and concerns the Supreme Court’s review of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia , and Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda (both cases concern whether federal laws banning employment discrimination protect gay and lesbian employees), and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC (on whether Title VII’s protections apply to transgender employees). Some background on these cases can be found here .

The following is the “summary of argument” section of the 50 page document:

1. The concept of “sex” is inextricably tied to the categories of same-sex attraction and gender nonconformity. Both categories are partially defined by sex and cannot logically be applied to any individual without reference to that individual’s sex. It is simply not possible to identify an individual as being attracted to the same sex without knowing or presuming that person’s sex. Likewise, it is not possible to identify someone as gender nonconforming (including being transgender) without reference to that person’s known or presumed sex and the associated social meanings. It follows that discrimination on the basis of same-sex attraction or gender nonconformity is inherently discrimination “because of sex.”

2. It is conceptually incorrect to state that discrimination against persons who are same-sex attracted or gender nonconforming is “sex-neutral.” If an employer decides to terminate an employee on the basis of same-sex sexual attraction (i.e., a particular sexual orientation) or gender nonconformity (e.g., being transgender), the employer must first presume the employee’s specific sex, and then account for the social meanings, expectations, and stereotypes specific to the employee’s particular presumed sex category. But for the concept of sex, the judgment that an employee violated one of the expectations and stereotypes specific to their sex would be impossible.

3. Title VII prohibits discrimination not simply based on the categories “man” and “woman,” but because of sex. The philosophical underpinnings of antidiscrimination laws represent a societal commitment to alter socially restrictive categories such that they no longer serve as the basis for denying equal treatment or limiting freedoms based on sex. To permit discrimination against individuals who fall into categories that are partially defined by sex would violate the fundamental rationale behind antidiscrimination laws. Moreover, it would require this Court to define “sex” in a way that is illogically constrained and harmful to groups that have historically been the targets of discrimination.

You can read the entire brief here . The oral arguments for the case will be heard on October 8th, 2019.

Kentucky Supreme Court hears religious freedom case over LGBT shirts

Kentucky Supreme Court hears religious freedom case over LGBT shirts

The Supreme Court chamber in the Kentucky State Capitol. Credit: Nagel Photography / Shutterstock The Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Friday in the case of a Christian business owner who is facing punishment for declining to print shirts for a LGBT Pride festival because of his faith.

“The right to decide which ideas to express is core to human freedom. The Commission violated that freedom by ordering Blaine Adamson to print messages that violate his religious beliefs,” Jim Campbell, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom who argued the case before the Kentucky Supreme Court, stated after oral arguments in the case on Friday.

Blaine Adamson, owner of the Lexington, Kentucky-based print shop Hands On Originals, was sued for declining to print T-shirts promoting a Lexington Pride festival in 2012. His business had been requested by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization, but Adamson declined to print the shirts because he believed that to do so would violate his Christian faith. He did refer the group to other companies.

In 2014, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission ruled that Adamson violated an anti-discrimination ordinance, and ordered him to print the shirts and undergo diversity training.

Adamson challenged the decision and won in a Kentucky court in 2017; the case has since been appealed to the state supreme court, and oral arguments before the court were heard Aug. 23.

Speaking to reporters and supporters after oral arguments, Adamson said that “I will work with any person, no matter who they are, and no matter what their belief systems are. But when I’m presented with a message that conflicts with my faith, that’s just something I cannot print.”

“I don’t walk into my business every morning and leave my faith at the door,” he said. “For the last seven years, the government has tried to punish me for declining to print a message that went against my conscience.”

In oral arguments, Campbell emphasized to the court that Adamson’s company Hands On Originals “serves everyone,” but reserves the right not to print certain messages it deems inappropriate or that would otherwise conflict with Adamson’s Christian faith.

Campbell said that Adamson, in his initial conversation with representatives of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization who were looking for a shirt promoting the Lexington Pride Festival, only declined to print the shirts after he asked and learned what would be printed on the shirt.

Campbell argued that this constituted a “substantial burden” on Adamson’s religious beliefs, as defined by the Supreme Court in Holt v. Hobbs .

The Commission required Mr. Adamson to violate his religious beliefs, and its mandate that he attend diversity training says that it’s “wrong” for him to operate his business according to his religious beliefs, Campbell argued.

Opposing Adamson, and representing the Commission, attorney Edward Dove said that Hands On Originals “practices censorship” according to Campbell’s admission.

“That’s why we have a public accommodation ordinance,” he said, to protect against people enduring discrimination as they seek to enjoy goods.

“They can do anything they want in the name of religion and censor any message they don’t like, which would affect the free speech argument in the country,” he said of Hands On.

Justice Michelle Keller asked Campbell how far the government could go to mandate that the shirts for the Pride festival be printed, asking if a disclaimer could be put on shirts saying the messages do not reflect the views of Hands On.

Adamson and other business owners have a constitutionally-protected “individual freedom of mind,” Campbell said, with an “individual dignity” to protect free expression.

This week’s winners and losers in LGBT sports

This week’s winners and losers in LGBT sports

Each week, Outsports stops the clock for an instant reply of the week that was. It’s our way of memorializing the glorious victories, the ignominious defeats, and the players and personalities who made them, lived them or just couldn’t avoid them.

If you’d like to read more about each entry, just click the link!

We realize our roster may differ from yours, and we welcome your comments, contributions and critiques. We read them all! Details on how to reach us are below, after our look at the week’s winners and losers. Winners: Anya Battaglino and Madison Packer

Anya Battaglino and Madison Packer of the NWHL got married last weekend in Newport, Rhode Island, and we have the awesome photos. A Coors Field employee cited stadium policy against ‘not appropriate’ PDA when she spotted a lesbian couple ‘casually’ kissing. Their tweets got them an apology and free tickets. Winners: Alec Smith, Katie McCabe and Nathan Matthews

Loser: Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro s1mple called Twitch “a joke” in response to his one week suspension for using harassing and homophobic language. Winner: Straight couple who met playing gay flag football

We particularly enjoyed a story in The Washington Blade Sports Issue profiling the budding relationship between Amanda Livingstone and Jorge Membreño, two straight allies who fell in love through their participation in the D.C. Gay Flag Football League. Loser: Leah “GIlty” Hayes

The trans Street Fighter pro received a ‘global prohibition’ in response to allegations of sexual assault from multiple women dating back to 2015.

A record 70+ MiLB teams have hosted Pride Nights this season, and thanks to You Can Play, the Staten Island Yankees will play theirs wearing jerseys featuring rainbow pinstripes. Loser: The Maui high school volleyball coach who said a trans student athlete posed an “elevated level of risk” to other girls

A Hawaii high school girls volleyball team now has a transgender girl on its roster, and so far, her only obstacle appears to be one bigoted coach, who refused to give his name to the newspaper reporting on her debut last week. Winner: Out NASCAR team member Ryan Hines

Ryan Hines never thought he could be gay and work in NASCAR. He said reading Outsports helped him realize “I could be myself and still do what I love.” Losers: Everyone still speculating about Odell Beckham, Jr.

The circular speculation that Odell Beckham, Jr. of the Cleveland Browns is gay does no one any good and is, at this point, desperately unfair to OBJ. Winners (but not officially): Scotland’s non-binary and gender neutral runners

Letting non-binary and gender-neutral runners compete is a great start for Scotland’s Great Run, but organizers will not allow them to win prizes or claim official rankings. Losers: Radio listeners of Alex Reimer

A mainstay at WEEI for the last few years, Alex Reimer will now be walking the halls of the Massacusetts State House as we moves from radio to politics. Winners: SonicFox and LGBTQ charities

Dominique “SonicFox” McLean’s 48 to 72 hour Twitch stream, which started on August 23, will benefit at least three LGBTQ charities.

That’s all for this week! We’ll bring you a fresh list of winners and losers next Saturday. Got a name we missed, or want to challenge our choices? Comment here or on Facebook or Instagram, tweet at us , message us via any social media, or just plain email us at outsports@gmail.com Thanks!

We need to take Pride in the ‘hidden’ LGBT heritage and history of our nation

We need to take Pride in the 'hidden' LGBT heritage and history of our nation

Time & Again. Filmed in Cardiff and starring Dame Sian Phillips I watched a beautiful love story this week called Time & Again. Filmed in Cardiff and starring Dame Sian Phillips, it was just half an hour long.

But those 30 minutes attempted to make up for years and years of this kind of love being invisible on Welsh screens.

Not only did it show what women know to be perfectly normal but popular culture still recoils from – the fact that even when we’re old we feel passion – it portrayed emotional and physical love between two octogenarian women.

Its writer, producer and director Rachel Dax believes this is a first. I certainly can’t think of any other positive representation of an elderly lesbian relationship in film or television drama. Which, when you come to think of it, is a startling state of affairs in the 21st century.

And to get this story made Rachel had to do it without any backing from a studio or broadcaster. Shot in two and a half days on a miniscule budget which she scraped together herself, it is an astonishing achievement given those restrictions.

The involvement of Dame Sian – who also helped bring veteran actress Brigit Forsyth to the project – was transformative. Once the Welsh acting icon had seen Rachel’s script she immediately wanted to do the film. Dame Sian Phillips (Image: PA) The story was partly inspired by older gay people fearing prejudice in care homes. We see Dame Sian’s character Eleanor being reunited with Isabelle (Brigit Forsyth) who arrives in the same care home 60 years after their relationship was torn apart by family opposition.

Isabelle had complied with her parents’ wishes and entered a loveless marriage while Eleanor remained true to her sexuality, going on to live the life she wanted, but sacrificed her bond with her mother and father who never spoke to her again.

These brutal choices reflect the reality many lesbians of this generation would have faced, as Rachel told the BBC:

“I think the main thing is families would be ashamed,” she said.

“It was very much like forced marriage. They were told ‘if you don’t marry, we’re disowning you’. Lots of lesbians went to London.”

But Time & Again is anything but grim and, without too many spoiler alerts, an uplifting denouement awaits. Actress Brigit Forsyth (Image: PA) “It’s not all doom and gloom and shows in your old age you can heal,” Rachel explains, adding: “I think older women in general tend to be treated like they don’t have any sexuality. I think it is important for lesbian visibility. Not all, but a lot of LGBT films with older characters are more male-focused.”

Time & Again is being shown at Barry Pride on September 19th and will also have screenings at the Cardiff International Film Festival in October but it deserves a pan-Wales platform. Let’s hope BBC Wales, who hosted the screening in the build up to this weekend’s Pride Cymru event, can broadcast it.

If these kind of fictional stories deserve the biggest possible audience the same goes for Wales’ factual LGBT history which has remained in the shadows until very recently.

The first book exploring the experiences of notable Welsh lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through the centuries was only published last year.

In the introduction to Forbidden Lives – LGBT Stories from Wales (Seren Books), author Norena Shopland outlines the challenges researching such a work presents. After all, the mainstream historical narrative we have all grown up with in Wales is resolutely male, heterosexual and British.

So Norena’s mission was to “read between the lines” to uncover hidden lives, as she explains: “Once outside the famous names such as Ivor Novello, the Ladies of Llangollen and more modern people such as Sarah Waters and Gareth Thomas things became harder. Trying to find the everyday lives of people became an exercise in ‘bit picking’ from other works. For much of what had existed had been shattered. For example, Frances Power Cobbe destroyed both her and her partner Mary Lloyd’s letters and diaries. Nothing they did was illegal, women were not affected by a ban in law the way that men were, but society did not approve and so the material was destroyed.

"Consequently, we are left to pick around in the letters and diaries of others to piece together stories about LGBT people in history. Over the years I have done much picking at bits and pieces and this book represents that. This is the first work highlighting real lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and events in and from Wales.”

A second pioneering work will arrive on the shelves this October. A Little Gay History of Wales (University of Wales Press) by Dr Daryl Leeworthy tells a big story. The historian who was brought up in Pontypridd draws on a rich array of archival sources and oral testimony to examine the experience of ordinary Welsh LGBT men and women from the Middle Ages to the present day. Gentleman Jack, featuring Suranne Jones as Anne Lister, and Sophie Rundle as Ann Walker, on the BBC, portrayed a historical lesbian relationship (Image: BBC) It’s the narrative of poets who wrote about same-sex love and translators who worked to create a language to describe it; activists who campaigned for equality and politicians who created the legislation providing it; teenagers ringing advice lines for guidance on coming out and revellers in the pioneering bars and clubs on a Friday and Saturday night. It is also a study of prejudice and of intolerance, of emigration and isolation, of HIV/AIDS and Section 28.

And for its author, it’s also a deeply personal project: “My childhood and adolescence coincided almost exactly with the implementation and enforcement of Section 28,” Daryl explains.

“Introduced in 1988 when I was a toddler, it was abolished in 2003 when I was in my final year of Sixth Form. Its legacy was still palpable when I went up to Oxford in the autumn of 2004. Talking to friends and former teachers in more recent times, it is clear just how fundamentally the legislation marked – and continues to mark – those of us who went to school during the period of its existence. To be blunt: this is a book that should have been written a long time ago.

“In other words, I wrote the Little History because I felt it should exist and that the longer such a book didn’t exist, the poorer we are here in Wales intellectually and culturally. Call it my revenge on Section 28!

“But it’s also a book that is very much about the ordinary men and women who we might now describe as LGBT, and I’ve tried to reflect the diversity of the community as far as possible, too. So the Muslim sailors who landed in Cardiff and had sex with local men; or the woman (Daphne Higuera) from Caerphilly who established Wales’s first ever gay women’s support group in the early 1970s; or Tim Foskett, a student from London studying at Cardiff, who helped to create the first pride march in the city in 1985; or the two ladies – Jamie and Eileen, active Christians – who ran Lan Farm in Pontypridd as an LGBT hostel in the late-1980s and early 1990s.

“I wanted to move away from LGBT history as being about the great and the good – the Ladies of Llangollen, Viscount Tredegar, Ivor Novello, Rhys Davies, even (heaven forbid) Edward II, etc – and make it about the rest of us. When those pioneers marched through Cardiff in 1985 they shouted ‘we are everywhere’, but what does that mean if our histories only talk about the people whose lives are far more easily documented?

“I also wanted a book that could form the basis of a better understanding of heritage and the ways in which gay, or gay-friendly, spaces existed in far more places than we often realise.

"Even now I’m learning about new ones. If you look in the columns of the pink press of the 1970s, for instance, they tell you that Gay News was sold in the Salisbury Hotel in Ferndale, that Merthyr had Britain’s most boring gay scene (but by implication, it had one), and that there was even a branch of the Gay Liberation Front in Aberdare. I hesitate to call this hidden history: those who needed to know, did know. But for today’s generation of young people, or tomorrow’s, knowing that someone else from your community was LGBT is both powerful and comforting.

“Like all minorities it is important to know that you are not alone, that your experience is not unique. That’s the value of this type of history – of the history of us – it means we don’t always have to start over.” Pride Cymru was taking place in Cardiff today (Image: Matthew Horwood) Cardiff is hosting Pride Cymru this weekend – Wales’s biggest celebration of equality and diversity.

Around 50,000 people are enjoying a mile-long parade and entertainment, music and comedy in support of our LGBT+ community.

It is an event that shows modern, inclusive Wales at it best but we also need to take Pride in the LGBT heritage and history of our nation – whether its expressed in the drama of Time & Again or through the pioneering research of Norena Shopland and Dr Daryl Leeworthy.

Some claim San Diego’s LGBT Center is “off-center” when it comes to the black community

Some claim San Diego's LGBT Center is "off-center" when it comes to the black community

Photo credit: Nicole Murrary-Ramirez Reports from the Town Hall For The Black LGBTQ Community say there were many who voiced concerns.

The San Diego LGBT Community Center (The Center) held a T own Hall for the Black LGBTQ Community on Thursday and reports from attendees say some black leaders and activists reflected on how they felt the organization mistreated, disrespected and made them feel overall unwelcome in the past.

A few black elders accused the Center of racism, something they claim has been going on since the ’70s.

Others said because they don’t feel welcome, they just don’t go. They also chastised The Center for its lack of black leadership and staff.

Caroline (Cara) Dessert, the new executive director since the retirement of Dr. Delores Jacobs last year, was present and listened as some speakers got very emotional about their experiences at The Center. Dessert is a queer Latina.

One of the biggest ovations from the crowd came when an African American lesbian stood up and boldly stated ”The Center is definitely off-center " and then sat down; the room filled with applause.

The community has noticed dozens of longtime employees leaving the organization in the past few months for unspecified reasons.

City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez, a long-time Latino and gay activist who was invited and attended Thursday’s meeting was so moved by the testimonies that he sent a proposal to Dessert to change the name of his "Nicole Murray-Ramirez Latino Services" to the "Nicole M. Ramirez – Vertez Burks All People of Color Services" at The Center.

Murray-Ramirez told San Diego Gay and Lesbian News that the meeting brought up issues that the Center needed to hear.

"Last night’s LGBT Black Town Hall has to be a wake-up call that all is not well with the Center and the LGBTQ community," said Murray-Ramirez. "While it was painful for me to hear the pain and anguish of our LGBTQ black community, I was very proud that well over a hundred people showed up and many of them spoke. I must also commend the Center for holding this long-overdue meeting."

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News reached out to The Center for comment and they have yet to respond.

San Jose police raise rainbow flag as LGBT pride weekend gets underway

San Jose police raise rainbow flag as LGBT pride weekend gets underway

Click here if you are unable to view this gallery on a mobile device.

The San Jose Police Department on Friday became one of the only law enforcement agencies in the country to show its support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community members by flying a rainbow flag at department headquarters.

Police and public officials raised the flag ahead of Silicon Valley Pride weekend, which will include rallies, live music and a parade in Downtown San Jose on Sunday.

The symbol of support comes as police, local businesses and elected officials launch efforts to better support victims of discrimination and prevent hate crimes against LGBT people and other marginalized groups.

Under the new “Safe Place” initiative, which San Jose police announced Thursday, the department has partnered with Starbucks and Wells Fargo locations to make those businesses safe havens for people who have experienced hate crimes. Workers at the 62 Starbucks locations and 25 Wells Fargo branches are trained to call police on behalf of hate crime victims, to allow them to stay inside and to “make them comfortable,” Police Chief Eddie Garcia said.

“We know that hate crimes can be an underreported crime,” Garcia said. Police hope to address that by making the process easier for victims.

Police in Seattle first launched the initiative in 2015, and it has spread to dozens of cities since then. Member businesses display a rainbow decal reading “Safe Place” in their windows, and while the program has its origins in efforts to prevent crimes against LGBT individuals, it is meant to address any hate crimes.

“Everyone will know the police department and city will not tolerate these crimes,” Garcia said.

In addition to that initiative, local elected officials are seeking to launch a regional task force this fall to study hate crimes and hate speech. Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and San Jose City Council Member Maya Esparza — whose 6-year-old cousin Stephen Romero was among three people fatally shot at the Gilroy Garlic Festival last month — announced the proposal Wednesday. The gunman in the shooting had cited a white supremacist text on social media.

“Nobody should go it alone,” Chavez said. “Fighting something this insidious, we need to figure out a way not just to stick together, but to work together to protect our communities.”

Progress on LGBT issues

To Wiggsy Sivertsen, the South Bay gay rights pioneer who spent nearly a half century at San Jose State University and now serves on a San Jose police advisory board for LGBT issues, the department’s initiatives show how much its culture has changed over the years.

Law enforcement agencies nationwide have typically had fraught histories with the gay communities they serve, marked by hostility and discrimination in decades past. New York Police Department leaders this year formally apologized for the 1969 police raid at the Stonewall Inn, which led to clashes that helped spark the modern LGBT rights movement.

In San Jose, Sivertsen recalled teaching police officers about gay and lesbian issues as part of training the department implemented after an officer fatally shot a gay, black teenager named Melvin Truss in 1985. As in other parts of the country, local law enforcement in San Jose had insulted or treated LGBT people poorly.

The officers who took the training weren’t openly hostile, Sivertsen said, and every so often one would thank her for leading the class. But, she said, “It was so clear that they were very upset about having to be in this class.”

She added, “They just didn’t think it was worthwhile, and it was clear to me that they were uncomfortable.”

On Friday, Sivertsen watched the rainbow flag fly outside a department that now proactively recruits gay and lesbian officers .

“I want to show my rank and file who are part of the LGBTQ community that we’re allies,” Garcia said. “If they sacrifice for their community and for their other brother and sister officers wearing this uniform, I and this department supports them.”

When she looks at San Jose police now, Sivertsen said, she sees a new culture from the chief down that works to welcome and support the LGBT community.

“The symbolism is important,” Sivertsen said of the rainbow flag at police headquarters.

“When you see something that reflects you,” she added, “it’s a way of saying to people, ‘You’re safe here.’”

Donald Trump Has Attacked The LGBT Community At Least 124 Times, GLAAD Says

Donald Trump Has Attacked The LGBT Community At Least 124 Times, GLAAD Says

Following reports that the administration of President Donald Trump has directed the Supreme Court to rule that already-existing protections against gender discrimination in hiring do not protect individuals based on their sexual orientation, GLAAD has charged that the Trump administration’s latest action is at least the 124th action it has committed against the LGBTQ+ community.

The accusation came from the LGBTQ+ rights organization in a Tweet Friday afternoon. “This is the Trump Administration’s 124th attack on LGBTQ people since taking office and they join Roy Moore in opposition to workplace protections for LGBTQ people,” GLAAD tweeted.

Earlier this week, The Washington Post published an op-ed that claimed the president has a “devastating” record on protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ people. In just one cited example of his record, author Michelangelo Signorile writes that the president in February gave a speech in which he defended state funding given to adoption agencies that prevent gay couples from adopting children.

Last week, the Trump administration filed a similar brief to the one it filed Friday with the Supreme Court, in which it petitioned the court to make it legal for employers to either not hire or fire transgender employees based on their gender identity.

Also this month, the Labor department proposed eliminating an Obama-era policy that prohibited businesses that contract with the federal government from discriminating against LGBTQ+ individuals in their hiring practices, per The Washington Post. Discrimination in the name of religion has no place in our country – let alone in the workplace. Make no mistake: Trump’s proposal is taxpayer-funded discrimination that targets women, people of color, and the LGBT community. We can’t let it stand. https://t.co/h7YPEn0Miy — Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) August 14, 2019 In April, a controversial Trump administration policy that prohibits Transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military went into effect, according to a report from NBC News . According the the report, the Trump administration policy rolled back an Obama-era one that allowed transgender individuals to openly serve in the U.S Military and provided them with access to gender-affirming care. The Trump-era policy enacted essentially evokes a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy similar to the one in place for gay, lesbian and bisexual service men and women in place from 1994 until 2011.

Earlier this month, The Log Cabin Republicans, a group whose makeup is described as gay republicans and their straight allies and claims to advocate for LGBT policies within the Republican Party, endorsed the president’s bid for reelection despite dealing to endorse the former reality television star in 2016, per The Washington Post.

Despite these actions, though, President Trump and his supporters have argued that he is not against the interests of the LGBTQ+ community. In a tweet in June, the President acknowledged gay Pride month and noted other countries with anti-LGBTQ+ policies. The president in that tweet claimed his administration was launching a global campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality worldwide.

Trump Administration Argues LGBT Discrimination Is Legal Because Gay Men and Gay Women Are Treated Equally Poorly

Trump Administration Argues LGBT Discrimination Is Legal Because Gay Men and Gay Women Are Treated Equally Poorly

The Trump administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court on Friday arguing that employers should be allowed to discriminate against, or even fire, their lesbian, gay and bisexual employees simply due to their sexual orientation.

The Justice Department intervened in one of two matters before the high court set to address LGBTQ employment discrimination during the court’s next term. At issue is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it a crime for employers "to fail or refuse to hire" or otherwise discriminate against a prospective or actual employee "because of such individual’s… sex."

While the Supreme Court has held that discrimination on the basis of sex encompasses actions taken or beliefs held by an employer that subject an employee to gender stereotypes, the court has never ruled on whether sex-based discrimination necessarily extends to sexual orientation.

In fact, appellate courts have traditionally held that sexual orientation is not a protected characteristic under Title VII, with one noted exception. In 2017, a federal appellate court reversed a prior holding to declare that discrimination against one’s sexual orientation does violate the law.

With its brief on Friday, the Department of Justice is trying to impel the Supreme Court to issue a precedent-setting ruling that would give the green light to employers nationwide who are not encumbered by state anti-discrimination ordinances.

Just last week, the Justice Department filed a similar brief in a different case dealing with anti-transgender discrimination, arguing along the same lines that federal civil rights law does not protect transgender employees from losing their jobs.

Remarkably, the department argued in its memorandum that the reason anti-gay discrimination is not unlawful under the ban on sex-based discrimination is because, in cases of adverse treatment by an employer, both gay men and gay women would be addressed equally poorly.

Upon experiencing discrimination from an employer, both men and women in same-sex relationships "would be similarly situated — and they would be treated the same," the department argued, negating a claim under Title VII’s sex-based protections. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds an LGBT rainbow flag given to him by supporter Max Nowak during a campaign rally at the Bank of Colorado Arena on the campus of University of Northern Colorado October 30, 2016 in Greeley, Colorado. The Trump administration has taken previous steps to remove protections and privileges for the LGBTQ community from both federal case law and departmental policy.

In a high-profile LGBTQ discrimination case involving a Colorado baker and a gay customer, the Trump administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court arguing that the baker’s religious beliefs should be respected and that Colorado law shouldn’t require him to bake a cake for the customer’s same-sex wedding.

The administration has also rescinded Obama-era guidance interpreting another federal civil rights statute as protecting transgender students who want to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity.

In perhaps the most harmful anti-LGBTQ policy to date, President Donald Trump announced a ban on transgender soldiers from serving openly in the U.S. military. The ban went into effect in April as several legal challenges to the rule work their way through the courts. The Supreme Court lifted pre-emptive rulings which had halted the policy until federal judges were able to hear the many cases challenging the administration.

Despite the overwhelming number of actions the Trump administration has taken which undermine the standing of LGBTQ Americans, Trump recently said that "I’ve done very well" with the LGBTQ community.

Kentucky Supreme Court hears case of printer who refused to make LGBT pride T-shirt

Kentucky Supreme Court hears case of printer who refused to make LGBT pride T-shirt

Kentucky Supreme Court hears case of printer who refused to make LGBT pride T-shirt The Kentucky Supreme Court on Friday heard arguments from a print shop owner who refused to make a T-shirt for an LGBT pride celebration, citing his First Amendment rights and saying he should not be forced to produce messages that go against his religious beliefs.

Blaine Adamson, who owns Hands-On Originals in Lexington, Ky., declined to make the shirts in honor of Lexington’s 2012 Gay Pride Festival, The Associated Press reported. The shirts had “Lexington Pride Festival” around a number five, marking the celebration’s fifth year.

Lexington’s Human Rights Commission argued that, by refusing to print the T-shirts ordered by Lexington’s Gay and Lesbian Services Organization, Adamson violated the city’s fairness ordinance to protect LGBT people, which was passed in 1999.

An attorney for Adamson argued in front of the state’s Supreme Court on Friday that the First Amendment to the Constitution protects the print shop owner from having to print a message that he objects to.

Adamson said after the hearing that the shirt that the organization ordered "goes against my conscience."

"I will work with any person, no matter who they are and no matter what their belief systems are," Adamson said, according to the AP. "But when I’m presented with a message that conflicts with my faith, that’s just something I cannot print, that’s the line for me."

Edward Dove, an attorney for the commission, told the court Friday that “the purpose of the law is to remove the stigma of discrimination."

The commission ordered Adamson to print the shirts in 2012 and attend diversity training. The printer appealed the decision and won in circuit court and the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

In 2017, the appeals court ruled that Adamson’s business was subject to the city’s fairness ordinance, but the ordinance does not prohibit a business “from engaging in viewpoint or message censorship."

The state’s Supreme Court will issue a ruling at a later date.

Ray Sexton, the executive director of Lexington’s Human Rights Commission, said the court will make a “critical decision” and warned that a ruling in favor of Adamson could allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people.

"Can we use religion to legally discriminate against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity?" Sexton asked, according to the AP.

Despite lesbian PM, Serbia bans IVF for people with ‘history of homosexual relations’

Despite lesbian PM, Serbia bans IVF for people with ‘history of homosexual relations’

Ana Brnabic, Prime Minister of Serbia, during Western Balkans Summit at the Poznan International Fair in Poznan, Poland on 5 July, 2019. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images) Despite having a lesbian Prime Minister, Serbia has placed restrictions on gay people having children by IVF.

The country’s right-wing government, which is led by out politician Ana Brnabic, has moved to impose restrictions on LGBT+ families.

According to Radio Free Europe , health minister Zlatibor Loncar has imposed rules banning artificial insemination and IVF for anyone who has a “history of homosexual relations during the last five years.” Serbia IVF rules ‘violate discrimination laws’

LGBT+ rights groups have filed a challenge against the provisions, which they argue violate laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Dragoslava Barzut, of LGBT+ rights group De Se Zna! told the outlet: “This bylaw violates the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination as well as the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia.

“It is not in line with other legal documents and other laws. Therefore, it should be revised.”

Brnabic herself welcomed a son, Igor, in February, after her partner Milica Djurdjic became pregnant though artificial insemination.

Although a bill to provide some basic recognition of same-sex relationships has been proposed in the country, it does not extend adoption rights to same-sex couples, many of whom have to go elsewhere to have children. Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic is one of three out world leaders

Brnabic was appointed as the country’s PM by Serbia’s conservative President Aleksandar Vučić in 2017, making her one of three out leaders in office around the world today.

The other two openly gay leaders, Ireland’s Leo Varadkar and Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel, both serve in countries that have made substantial progress on LGBT rights, while the legal situation remains bleak for couples in Serbia. Ana Brnabic, Prime Minister of Serbia during Western Balkans Summit at the Poznan International Fair in Poznan, Poland on 5 July, 2019. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Brnabic insists her sexuality has never been an issue in the country, although she has faced homophobic jibes from her own ministers in the past.

She said: “I’ve been openly gay throughout my life and I’ve never had a problem in Serbia. I would like to think that Serbia is not that conservative or homophobic, or xenophobic for that matter.

“There’s certainly room to improve and change and there’s certainly still people who think, ‘this is not okay, that this is not part of our tradition and part of our accepted values’, but I do think that they are a minority. A loud minority, granted, but a minority.

“I do feel I have huge support from the people in Serbia.”

In 2017, Brnabic marched in Belgrade’s Pride parade, marking a first for a head of government.

She told reporters that she wanted to take part in the march to signal a move towards a more diverse Serbia.

Brnabic said: “The government is here for all citizens and will secure the respect of rights for all citizens.

“We want to send a signal that diversity makes our society stronger, that together we can do more.”