Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters
Right-wing media figures had a meltdown after the Supreme Court decided that it is unconstitutional for employers to discriminate against LGBTQ people, calling it "Orwellian" and "a brute force attack on our constitutional system." In one of the most significant rulings for the rights of trans and queer people, the court ruled 6-3 that LGBTQ employees are protected under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
The Supreme Court issued a combined ruling on several cases; two were on behalf of men who were fired for being gay and a third about a woman who was fired for being trans. In that third case, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, extreme anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represented a funeral home owner who fired employee Aimee Stephens after she came out as transgender. Stephens died on May 12 and was unable to see the landmark decision in her favor.
Despite the victory for LGBTQ people, media and society still have a long way to go on trans acceptance; for example, at the time of Stephens' death, some major news outlets deadnamed her, the disrespectful practice of referring to a trans person by the name they used before transitioning.
ADF has long worked through the courts to fight against LGBTQ rights in every aspect of their lives, asking the courts to legalize discrimination against queer people in the workplace, in businesses, public facilities and restrooms, homeless shelters, and elsewhere. In addition to its work in the courts around Title VII, it has vehemently opposed the Equality Act, which would add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" explicitly to Title VII. The group is a regular presence on Fox News, where it advocates for its cases. After the Supreme Court's decision, ADF dubiously claimed the ruling "will create chaos and enormous unfairness for women and girls in athletics, women's shelters, and many other contexts."
The Supreme Court's decision came only days after the Trump-Pence administration dealt another devastating blow to the LGBTQ community. On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule "that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people when it comes to health care and health insurance" and would allow doctors and medical professionals to deny care to LGBTQ people; transgender people already face "rampant discrimination" in health care. Advocates have noted that this puts the Trump-Pence administration's interpretation of sex under federal law at odds with the Supreme Court's.
In addition, reports indicated that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will propose a rule "in the coming weeks" that will allow homeless shelters to discriminate against trans people.
The Movement Advancement Project estimates that 42% of LGBTQ Americans lived "in states that do not prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity," even though a majority of Americans support nondiscrimination protections, including in employment.
Right-wing media figures call decision "a brute force attack on our constitutional system"
While millions of LGBTQ Americans and their allies celebrated the historic ruling, right-wing media outlets and figures were quick to condemn it, calling it "Orwellian" and "a brute force attack on our constitutional system."
Here are some of the worst right-wing reactions:
- Anti-LGBTQ outlet PJ Media
- The Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro
This Gorsuch decision is not originalist in any way; he acknowledges as much. It is simply a bad, outcome-driven le… https://t.co/38gpIfUTnE— Ben Shapiro (@Ben Shapiro) 1592233134.0
Out: Textualism means interpreting a statute according to the meaning of its verbiage when written. In: Textualism… https://t.co/F47LljzPvb— Ben Shapiro (@Ben Shapiro) 1592237766.0
- Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton
Our Republic is under assault in the streets and in the courts. https://t.co/70QrzOsRtU— Tom Fitton (@Tom Fitton) 1592233308.0
- Extreme anti-LGBTQ group Family Research Council (FRC)
We are disappointed the Supreme Court chose to radically re-write the statute by expanding its meaning to cover 'ge… https://t.co/qTgbznqKU3— Family Research Council (@Family Research Council) 1592236378.0
- FRC's Tony Perkins
Allowing judges to rewrite the Civil Rights Act to add gender identity & sexual orientation as protected classes po… https://t.co/KwzQfcCXhj— Tony Perkins (@Tony Perkins) 1592237357.0
- The Daily Wire's Michael Knowles
Et tu, Gorsuche?— Michael Knowles (@Michael Knowles) 1592231107.0
- Heritage Foundation's Ryan T. Anderson
The Supreme Court got it wrong. The word ‘sex’— still today and when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964—r… https://t.co/tKTYzpHtA3— Ryan T. Anderson (@Ryan T. Anderson) 1592234149.0
- Judicial Crisis Network's Carrie Severino
Justice Scalia would be disappointed that his successor has bungled textualism so badly today, for the sake of appe… https://t.co/1g4s81HQZR— Carrie Severino (@Carrie Severino) 1592231542.0
- Conservative Review's Daniel Horowitz
Here we go, the "conservative" scotus codifies transgenderism into...1964 act! 4th massacre of the day at scotus. G… https://t.co/A5is8ktQyd— Daniel Horowitz (@Daniel Horowitz) 1592229899.0
So there is a right to transgenderism but not to self defense? States can't set capital cases without federal cour… https://t.co/z62MRDe7z1— Daniel Horowitz (@Daniel Horowitz) 1592229937.0
- C-FAM's Stefano Gennarini
- Fox News host Mark Levin
1. Today's Supreme Court decision will be lauded and celebrated in the media as "historic." There will be little o… https://t.co/SCjEobk1GI— Mark R. Levin (@Mark R. Levin) 1592233666.0
2. These things used to matter. Not so much anymore. Roberts no longer pretends to be a judge; now Gorsuch has le… https://t.co/sg9ELu9uK0— Mark R. Levin (@Mark R. Levin) 1592233666.0
- American Principles Project
SCOTUS sided with progressive ideology and ruled to include unscientific “gender identity” in Civil Rights legislat… https://t.co/0E8PeJES9V— American Principles (@American Principles) 1592232732.0
- Newsbusters' Tim Graham
If I may repeat: Liberal media always report LGBT stories from an LGBT viewpoint as "historic" and "landmark" and e… https://t.co/kdSvl7X8jG— Tim Graham (@Tim Graham) 1592231071.0
- Michelle Malkin
Just so we're clear today so far: SCOTUS rejects Second Amendment cases, rejects WH request to hear challenge to Ca… https://t.co/k0beSMw5g1— Michelle Malkin (@Michelle Malkin) 1592230148.0