Tennessee Attorney General asks the U.S. Supreme Court to roll back protections for LGBTQ people
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2019
CONTACT: Lindsay Kee, ACLU-TN communications director, 615-320-7142
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery signed on to an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on August 23 asking the court to rule against three individuals who were fired for being LGBTQ. The three cases include the first transgender civil rights case to be heard by the high court.
“The state attorney general’s office is out-of-touch with the majority of Tennesseans, who support the idea that no one should be fired because of who they are,” said ACLU-TN Executive Director Hedy Weinberg. “This a cruel, unnecessary move backwards that does nothing to strengthen our state’s economy and grow our workforce. Were the Supreme Court to agree with Attorney General Slatery, it would give the Trump Administration license to take even more dangerous actions against LGBTQ individuals and place them at risk of losing the protections that impact every aspect of people’s lives – from employment and education, to housing and healthcare.”
The employees in these cases, including ACLU clients Aimee Stephens, who was fired for being transgender, and Don Zarda, who was fired for being gay, have argued that discrimination against LGBTQ people is unlawful sex discrimination. A number of federal appeals courts have said that the Civil Rights Act and other federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination apply to LGBTQ people, as have dozens of state and district courts.
Advocates say that a victory in these cases would be just one step towards achieving comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community nationwide.
“With the Trump Administration’s relentless attacks on LGBTQ individuals, it is more critical than ever that Congress act now to pass the Equality Act which would provide comprehensive, express federal protections for LGBTQ people nationwide,” Weinberg continued. “We will continue to fight to ensure that all people – regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity – are treated with respect and dignity and that nondiscrimination protections are in place.”
The cases will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, October 8.