An attorney for funeral home owner Thomas Rost said on Tuesday that Supreme Court Justices were “troubled” by the ACLU’s position on the controversial LGBT discrimination case.
In the case – R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC – the ACLU alleges that an employee was discriminated against – ultimately fired – for being transgender. Rost explained in a statement that his business abides by a “professional code of conduct and sex-specific dress code to ensure families can focus on processing their grief.” The employee at the center of the controversy agreed to the code of conduct and dress code but changed his mind years later, expressing a desire to present himself as a female.
Rost said the business created the dress code for grieving families and determined that it was in the best interest of those families to reject the employee’s request. He did not violate federal law, but the ACLU argues that the employee’s termination it is a form of sex discrimination.
A lawyer for Rost spoke after the Supreme Court heard the case and said justices were “troubled” by the ACLU’s argument. He added that the ACLU “seeks to do nothing less than to redefine the meaning of the word sex in federal law–a change that Congress has repeatedly rejected.”
Our federal law prohibiting discrimination because of sex in employment, Title XII, is a promise that women will not be treated worse than men and men will not be treated worse than women. The law’s text does not mean that employers must treat biological men as women. The ACLU’s attempt to redefine the word sex creates unfair situations for women and girls and undermines nearly 50 years of advances for women in this country.
“In this very case, Tom is being punished for having the audacity to apply a sex-specific dress code based on an employee’s biological sex,” he explained, adding that they were “really encouraged” by what happened in court.
“We were really encouraged by what happened in the court today, because the justices were troubled by the ACLU’s position that you can wipe out all sex-specific policies,” he said.
“Justice Ginsburg observed that unlike other classifications, certain distinctions require treating males and females differently,” he said.
“Justice Alito noted the Congress is working on these very issues, and he questioned whether courts should ever be in the business of rewriting the law, as the ACLU asks,” he added. “Chief Justice Roberts made the same point.”