Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant joined 15 other Republican leaders across the country in signing a brief that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not protect transgender people and that employers have the right to fire them for their gender identity.
The amicus brief comes after lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom asked the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In the ruling, the court decided a Michigan employer—a devout Christian—violated an employee's Title VII protections by firing her after she disclosed that she was transgender and transitioning. Title VII bars employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission first brought the lawsuit against the Detroit-area R.G. & G.R. Funeral Home in 2014 after the woman, Aimee Stephens, filed a sex-discrimination claim after the business fired her from her job as a funeral director.
The only reason offered for her termination, Stephens alleged, was that "the public would (not) be accepting of (her) transition." Over the course of the investigation, the EEOC also found that, while the funeral home provided male employees with clothing benefits, it allegedly did not do so for female employees.
A lower court initially ruled against the EEOC and Stephens, but the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio overturned that ruling in March of this year, finding that "discrimination against employees, either because of their failure to conform to sex stereotypes or their transgender and transitioning status, is illegal under Title VII."
Bryant was one of three Republican governors to sign onto the amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to deny such protections to transgender people; Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Maine Gov. Paul LePage also signed. The