Maryland – Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, along with 17 other attorneys general filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The brief was filed Thursday.
In part, the attorneys general write:
The Attorneys General argue that their States have strong interests in protecting their citizens against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The lack of nationwide recognition that Title VII bars such discrimination blocks the full protection of LGBTQ workers – particularly given divisions between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which takes the position that Title VII protects workers from sexual orientation, and the federal Department of Justice, which has recently taken the opposite position.
“The Constitution’s command to provide ‘the equal protection of the laws’ applies to ‘any person’ within a state’s jurisdiction, regardless of that person’s sexual orientation,” said Attorney General Frosh. “We deprive our citizens of that equal protection when we allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Just like race, sex, or creed, discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation must not be tolerated as a ground for denying any person the opportunity to obtain employment.
“Employment discrimination against gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers not only deprives them of important economic opportunities—it also stigmatizes their most intimate relationships and thus ‘diminish[es] their personhood,’” the Attorneys General write.
The case, Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, involves Jameka Evans, a security guard at a Savannah hospital who was harassed at work and forced out of her job because she is a lesbian. Evans’ petition seeks a nationwide ruling that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates Title VII.
In addition to Maryland, Attorneys General from CA, CT, DE, HI, IA, IL, MA, MD, MN, NM, NY, OR, PA, RI, VA, VT, WA, and DC also joined the brief.
Find a copy of the brief here.