Thursday, October 11, 2018

EEOC Sued Over Enforcement of LGBT Protections Without Religious Exemption

A class action lawsuit was filed last week in a Texas federal district court against the EEOC on behalf of all churches that oppose homosexual or transgender behavior for sincere religious reasons and on behalf of all businesses with similar beliefs.  The complaint (full text) in U.S. Pastor Council v. EEOC, (ND TX, filed 10/6/2018), says that the EEOC interprets Title VII as covering employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, without a religious exemption. It contends that this violates RFRA and the First Amendment.  the suit seeks to enjoin the federal government from interpreting or enforcing Title VII in a manner that requires churches or businesses with religious objections to recognize same-sex marriage or extend spousal benefits to same-sex partners, or to require objecting businesses to allow employees to use rest rooms reserved for persons of the opposite biological sex.  It also asks the court to require that any future EEOC guidance on Title VII's application to gay or transgender individuals include a religious exemption. The lawsuit was filed by the same law firm that has recently filed two challenges to Austin, Texas' anti-discrimination ordinances. (See prior posting.) [Thanks to Jeff Pasek for the lead.]