Gov. Bevin joins 15 other states asking courts to limit transgender protections

08/31/2018 03:41 PM

FRANKFORT, KY (SPECTRUM NEWS) — Governor Matt Bevin has joined 15 other states asking the courts to reconsider how they define sex when it comes to discrimination.
In the 20 page brief, leaders of 16 states argue that when it comes to Title VII, the word sex means gender, and does not include transgender people.

The brief was filed by the Attorneys General from 13 states; Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. Governors from Kentucky, Maine and Mississippi also took part in it.
In 1964, Congress passed The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which said people can’t be discriminated against because of their sex.
Then, in March 2018, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that discriminating because somebody is transgender is the same as doing it because of their gender.
The sixteen state leaders disagree, writing in the brief that the courts made the wrong ruling, saying “In doing so, the lower court rewrites Title VII in a way never intended or implemented by Congress in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
Bevin declined an interview, but in a statement a spokesperson said, “The state’s authority to create employment protections outside Title VII was established when the law was enacted in 1964 and should not change as a result of modern-day judicial activism.”
Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth says Bevin’s actions will hurt Kentucky.“This entire area of LGBTQ rights and the way this administration has tried to undermine them is something that makes Kentucky look very backward,” the Congressman from Louisville remarked.
This isn’t the first time this issue has gone to court.
“The Department of Justice lost in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling, where they went against the EEOC, two federal government agencies going against each other in the Federal Court of Appeals and Ultimately the interpretation that sex discrimination does protect LGBTQ people was the prevailing decision in the 2nd circuit so the department of justice lost there. So, I think the trend in the courts, regardless of this amicus brief that Governor Bevin and others have filed is that they’re going to say that sex discrimination does actually cover LGBTQ people,” said Chris Hartman.
As director of the Louisville based Fairness Campaign, Hartman follows these cases closely.
10 cities in Kentucky already have fairness ordinances in effect.
Bevin’s brief won’t change that, but it could make it so all the other places in the commonwealth could discriminate against transgender people.
Yarmuth says that could mean less money for Kentucky. “When we’re trying to promote economic development and we’re competing with states and communities which have a very open tolerant perspective on those issues this runs counter to that and I think sabotages all of our economic development efforts,” he explained.
The Associated Press calculated that North Carolina’s bathroom bill cost the state about $3.7 billion.
Visit Indy, the city’s visitor and tourism bureau, says Indiana’s religious freedom restoration act ended up costing the city more than $60 million.
Hartman says Bevin’s rollback on LGBTQ rights is already costing Kentucky money.
“Tourism, convention dollars, and let me tell you Kentucky’s losing right now. Because unfortunately a couple years ago, a law that could have only marginally effected LGBTQ folks passed, but it landed us on California’s state travel ban. And while a lot of folks like to scoff, oh its California, but the reality is when you have a national convention that’s going to go somewhere and every national convention wants every state to attend…” explained Hartman.
However, Hartman says the main reason he disagrees with the brief is much simpler- he doesn’t want discrimination.
“We should be at a place now where people truly should be judged based upon how they’re doing their job., based upon am I paying my rent on time. I mean, that’s the point of fair housing, fair employment in general,” stated Hartman.
Yarmuth agrees, saying “It’s disrespectful to some of our citizens and that’s why I would strongly oppose what he’s doing.”

Spectrum News asked a several Republicans to comment on this issue, including the Republican Party of Kentucky, but all declined interview requests.


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