The Justice Department in Trump’s administration just tried to argue that people should be able to fire their employees for being gay.
On Tuesday, all 13 judges of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments for the Zarda v. Altitude Express case.
The case, which started back in 2010, is focused on the issue of firing someone based on their sexual orientation. Skydiving instructor Donald Zarada argues that he was fired because of his sexual orientation by his former employer at Altitude Express, and the case has made its way up to the court of appeals.
But the story goes further. What's even more at the center of this argument is whether Title VII, which protects employees from discrimination based on gender, should also protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. So far, Trump’s Justice Department says otherwise.
As Justice Department attorney Hashim Mooppan stated, “Employers under Title VII are permitted to consider employees’ out-of-work sexual conduct. There is a commonsense, intuitive difference between sex and sexual orientation.”
Mooppan is ultimately equating situations like an employee having a sex addiction that then gets in the way of both his/her personal and working life with situations like an employee simply being gay. There's no doubt about it and no religious backing being used an excuse this time. This is straight up discrimination.
But another thing, why is the Justice Department, a section of the executive branch, getting involved in the first place?
Several of the appeals court judges openly asked this question and one judge asked if the DOJ employment discrimination division had even been consulted.
Mooppan only replied with, “It’s not appropriate for me to comment.”
Ultimately, the case is a slow crawl of moment that might be on its way to the Supreme Court.
“We need the Supreme Court to decide this issue once and for all,” said Lambda Legal CEO Rachel Tiven. “Today was a rehearsal.”
h/t: Vice News