WASHINGTON, D.C., June 15, 2020—The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 in the consolidated Title VII cases covered in Bostock v. Clayton County today. The opinion, written by Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, states that an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it “unlawful … for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual … because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, responds to the ruling at length in his new article, “After the Bostock Supreme Court Case.” Highlights from his article are featured below:
“The precedents set here will have major implications going forward on how the public meaning of words at the time laws are passed should mean for how they are interpreted in the future.
“The ruling also will have seismic implications for religious liberty, setting off potentially years of lawsuits and court struggles, about what this means, for example, for religious organizations with religious convictions about the meaning of sex and sexuality. This will mean not only that this is just the beginning of the legal discussion at this point, but also that Congress must clarify precisely what they intended, or intend now, in laws that protect women from unjust discrimination—laws that now are to be applied much more broadly.
“What is most important is for the church to see where a biblical vision of sexuality and family is out of step with the direction of American culture. For 2,000 years, the Christian tradition, rooted in the Bible, has taught that human beings are limited by our createdness. We are not self-created, nor are we self-determining beings. God has created us, from the beginning, male and female—a concept articulated at the very onset of the biblical canon (Gen. 1:27) and reaffirmed by our Lord Jesus (Mk. 10:6). That’s because this creation order is not arbitrary but is intended to point beyond itself to the mystery of the gospel (Eph. 5:32). Here the church has stood, and will stand.”
The ERLC filed a joint brief with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Anglican Church in North America, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and several other religious organizations in August 2019. The brief argued that “construing the term ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity’ will create conflicts with many religious believers and with their institutions. Such an interpretation will affect the ability of churches and faith-based schools and charities to hire and retain employees who, by word and conduct, accept or at least do not contradict the church’s religious message.”
The ERLC will continue to work to defend these issues in court and work with the people’s elected voice in the U.S. Congress to ensure that Americans with sincerely held religious beliefs about human dignity can continue to enjoy religious freedom and rights of conscience.