Can a business fire someone because they’re LGBTQ? The Supreme Court will soon tell us.
This past Friday came the announcement that the ACLU of Michigan and the state of Michigan settled a lawsuit that we, the ACLU, had filed — challenging the state’s practice of allowing state-contracted, taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies to use religious criteria to exclude same-sex couples.
It’s been a challenging week this week for members of the transgender community, their allies and supporters. Over the weekend, the New York Times revealed that officials within the Trump Administration are pushing for a narrow definition of sex in enforcing federal civil rights laws. By defining sex as “either male or female, immutable and determined by a person’s genitals at the time of birth,” governmental departments could refuse to recognize and address incidents of discrimination against transgender people in employment, education, housing and access to health care.
There are more than 13,000 children in Michigan’s foster care system who are need of permanent loving and supportive homes.
Some are misinterpreting last week’s Supreme Court’s decision in the Masterpiece Cake case, as providing a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people. This is patently false. The Court’s ruling in favor of the cake shop was based on very narrow and specific circumstances regarding respecting religious freedom while enforcing antidiscrimination laws.
A landmark legal decision for transgender rights was issued last week. A unanimous three-judge panel of the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals — covering Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee — ruled that Michigan RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes violated federal civil rights laws when they fired Aimee Stephens for a being a transgender woman.