LGBT

Jeff Sessions Decides The Civil Rights Act Does Not Say What it Says

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 quite literally prohibits discrimination based on gender, but that does not include men and women according to attorney general and evil Keebler elf Jeff Sessions.

More specifically, Sessions says it does not include transgender men and women.

Sessions’ directive, obtained by BuzzFeed News, says, “Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.”

"Per se."

“Although federal law, including Title VII, provides various protections to transgender individuals, Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se,” Sessions writes. “This is a conclusion of law, not policy. As a law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice must interpret Title VII as written by Congress."

The law as written by Congress says employers cannot "discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

That is literally what the law says. For Sessions to say it does not include gender identity is to say that transgender people are not really people, because even if you're a backwoods bigot like Sessions who does not acknowledge the legitimacy of transgender identity, you would still be discriminating against a person based on their gender. You can't separate the two.

And this is absolutely a policy position, not a "conclusion of law," because concluding that "sex" does not include gender identity is a radical interpretation, not the current precedent.

Sharon McGowan, a former lawyer in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and now an attorney for the LGBT group Lambda Legal, countered that Sessions' is ignoring a widespread trend in federal courts.

"It's ironic for them to say this is law, and not policy," McGowan told BuzzFeed News. "The memo is devoid of discussion of the way case law has been developing in this area for the last few years. It demonstrates that this memo is not actually a reflection of the law as it is — it's a reflection of what the DOJ wishes the law were."

The only federal court system in the country that may agree with Sessions is the arch-conservative 5th Circuit, but even that seems like a bit of a stretch.

This is a debate over whether or not words have meaning.

  • ninjaf

    This is a debate over whether or not words have meaning.

    There you go with your *Coastal Elitist™ views that reading requires literacy.

    *Doesn’t matter if you live in Ohio; you’ve got the north coast up there, so you still count, I assume.

  • And the REASON that this guy didn’t quit his post after Trump raked him over the Twitter coals earlier this year is because he’s been wanting to pull this kind of shit for his entire life. Sessions swallowed whatever dignity, honor and pride he ever had, just so he could screw over people that he hates.

    • Scopedog

      Exactly.

      But hey, let’s hear it from those who babbled out that Hillary would have been worse, because we all know that Hillary would have picked an AG who is even more of a racist, homophobic prick than Sessions.

    • Pretty much the same thing can be said for every single Republican in the White House.

      • ninjaf

        And Congress.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Sessions swallowed whatever dignity, honor and pride he ever had

      Well, it’s not like he’d have had to open wide to fit those in. Something that is hardly there doesn’t make for a lot to swallow.