120 members of Congress tell Trump to end his 'harmful,' anti-LGBTQ policies

Tim Fitzsimons

More than 100 members of Congress sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday that denounced “harmful” LGBTQ policies and called on him to immediately “review and revoke or revise all federal agency regulations, federal agency policies and executive orders permitting discrimination against LGBTQ people.”

"Since taking office, your Administration has repeatedly issued dozens of regulatory and agency actions premised almost entirely on the claim that federal bans on sex discrimination do not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity," the letter states. "This argument attempts to sanction discrimination against LGBTQ people in a broad range of critical arenas, including in employment, health care, housing, and education."

The 120 lawmakers argued that the Supreme Court’s recent Bostock v. Clayton County ruling — which found that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits anti-LGBTQ employment discrimination — decisively rejected the Trump administration's narrow interpretation of any discrimination based on "sex," which it has tried to advance since 2017.

Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., speaks during a news conference on Sept. 27, 2019. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call via AP)
Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., speaks during a news conference on Sept. 27, 2019. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call via AP)

"Last month’s Supreme Court decision ensures that LGBTQ Americans can’t be fired because of who we are or whom we love," said Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., who is gay. "This is a long-overdue decision that’s about fundamental fairness, and we must see that LGBTQ individuals are equal in all aspects of our lives."

“I am proud to join 116 of my colleagues who call on the administration to grant LGBTQ Americans the same protection and legal recourse others already have should our civil rights be violated,” Pappas said.

In that landmark ruling, issued June 15, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that “it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.“

“Because discrimination on the basis of homosexuality or transgender status requires an employer to intentionally treat individual employees differently because of their sex, an employer who intentionally penalizes an employee for being homosexual or transgender also violates Title VII," Gorsuch wrote for the majority.

But while Thursday's open letter argues that the Supreme Court's Bostock ruling goes beyond Title VII and applies to "several other federal civil rights law," the opinion of the court said that whether "other policies and practices might or might not qualify as unlawful discrimination or find justifications under other provisions of Title VII are questions for future cases, not these."

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