On the same day that the President Trump tweeted that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the US military, the Justice Department filed an amicus brief in a discrimination case arguing that a landmark civil rights law doesn't cover gay people.
Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has involved the Justice Department in a workplace discrimination lawsuit in which David Zarda, a skydiving instructor, sued his employer because he says they fired him for being gay. The suit argues that Zarda's rights were violated under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on sex.
The DOJ sided with Zarda's employer and filed paperwork with a federal appeals court in New York, according to BuzzFeed, arguing that "the sole question here is whether, as a matter of law, Title VII reaches sexual orientation discrimination," and claiming that the law does not do that. "Any efforts to amend Title VII’s scope should be directed to Congress rather than the courts," according to lawyers for the Justice Department.
The filing not only puts the DOJ at odds with how Title VII was interpreted under the Obama Administration, which BuzzFeed notes expanded the title to cover gender identity, but also with another federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC took Zarda's side with their own amicus brief, but the Times reports that the DOJ told the court that the EEOC "was not speaking for the United States."