Court says funeral home violated federal law by firing transgender employee

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& G.R. Harris Funeral Home in Garden City from 2007 until her firing in 2013.

The decision by Moore and two others on the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals punished a Christian-owned MI funeral home for requiring that men dress as men, and women as women, when they deal with customers who are going through the trauma of the loss of a loved one.

"An employer can not discriminate on the basis of transgender status without imposing its stereotypical notions of how sexual organs and gender identity ought to align", she continued.

Aimee Stephens said she was unlawfully fired by Michigan-based R.G.

Gary McCaleb, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, said the Sixth Circuit was erroneous in its conclusions.

According to the ruling, Stephens worked at Harris Funeral Homes "while living and presenting as a man". Harris Funeral Home's dress code is tailored to serve those mourning the loss of a loved one.

"Today's decision misreads court precedents that have long protected businesses which properly differentiate between men and women in their dress and grooming policies", McCaleb said.

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Moore's opinion referenced Anthony Stephens, the employee who complained about the funeral home's practice, as "her". "There is no way to disaggregate discrimination on the basis of transgender status from discrimination on the basis of gender non-conformity, and we see no reason to try".

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had initially filed the lawsuit, but Stephens later joined the suit because she feared policy changes in the US government might prevent the EEOC from representing her interests.

The sixth circuit appeals court rejected an earlier court's decision that funeral home owner Thomas Rost did not violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to The Washington Times.

Rost says God has called him to minister to grieving people, and the funeral home website says its highest priority is to honor God. After informing [funeral home owner] Rost of an intention to begin dressing as a female at work, the employee was dismissed for refusing to comply with the dress code. During the EEOC's investigation, it also found discrimination in the clothing allowance for men and women. The male employee who wishes to dress as a woman goes by "Aimee Stephens". "Moreover, whatever this Court would say about the question were it writing on a blank slate, Congress has made clear through its actions and inactions in this area that Title VII's prohibition of sex discrimination does not encompass sexual orientation discrimination".

Rost told the court he "sincerely believes that the Bible teaches that a person's sex is an immutable God-given gift", and that he would be "violating God's commands" if he were to permit one of his funeral directors to deny their sex while acting as a representative of the organization. "This opinion instead rewrites federal law and is directly contrary to decisions from other federal appellate courts".

Further, Moore noted, "Permitting Stephens to wear attire that reflects a conception of gender that is at odds with Rost's religious beliefs is not a substantial burden". Owner Thomas Rost was confronted by a male employee who informed Rost that he meant to leave work for a two-week vacation and come back presenting as a member of the opposite sex.

U.S. Circuit Judge Karen Nelson Moore, a Clinton appointee, said in the 49-page unanimous opinion issued by the court that R.G.

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