Looming Legal Clashes

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by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  April 25, 2019   

Critical LGBT and abortion cases heading to court

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Cases affecting religious freedom, the LGBT agenda and abortion are on the horizon for the U.S. Supreme Court. The outcomes of these cases will have far-reaching moral ramifications affecting the workplace, education and taxpayer funding for abortions.

On Monday, the High Court agreed to hear three cases involving so-called discrimination in the workplace based on perceived sexual orientation that differs from biological sex. In 2017, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bars hiring or firing someone based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, now covers alleged discrimination based on perceived sexual orientation.

In subsequent cases, the Second Circuit Court followed suit while the 11th Circuit reached the opposite conclusion. It's this split in the circuit courts that the Supreme Court has chosen to resolve.

Legal analysts emphasize that this highly anticipated ruling will affect not just the workplace but education as well.

"If the Supreme Court upholds the Seventh and Second Circuits, every federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex will eventually be re-interpreted to include sexual orientation and gender identity," wrote John Stonestreet at Breakpoint. "This will put a lot more than just bakers and florists in the crosshairs. The impact on Christian Colleges alone would be devastating."

Stonestreet notes how the Obama administration in 2016 sided with a transgender student suing a Virginia school for the right to enter the bathrooms occupied by students of the opposite sex. Sex discrimination falls under Title XI of the same Civil Rights Act.

The Department of Justice "got around the fact that Title XI doesn't mention sexual orientation or gender identity by employing the same reasoning as the Seventh and Second Circuits did with Title VII," Stonestreet wrote.

Title X lawsuits, meanwhile, hit three federal courts this week, each attempting to block new a Trump administration rule (taking effect May 3) that partially defunds Planned Parenthood. An Oregon judge announced Tuesday he plans to block the rule. These cases are now working their way up to the Supreme Court.

Watch the panel discuss the moral cases heading to the High Court in The Download—Looming Legal Clashes.

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