As part of our mission to ensure that all people are treated with dignity, respect, and equality, the Jewish Center for Justice rejects any attempt to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. We support the right of LGBTQ people to live openly and without fear, and while same-sex couples are now free to marry, LGBTQ individuals still face discrimination in many areas including housing, employment, and the justice system. While some invoke religion as a shield for discrimination, our tradition informs the belief that all people should be treated equally and justly regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a trio of job discrimination cases that have the potential to put to rest the question of whether the Civil Rights Act, Title VII protections extend to sexual orientation and gender identity with respect to workplace discrimination. Specifically, the Court granted certiorari in Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, a case about whether Title VIII prohibits discrimination against transgender workers, and in two other cases, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and Altitude Express v. Zarda, about whether Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Historically, advocates have argued that protection against discrimination based on “sex” would naturally also cover sexual expression and gender identity. With the landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, where the Court found that the fundamental right to matrimony is guaranteed to same sex couples (thereby offering protection against discrimination on the basis of sex in matrimony), we hoped that the Court would go a step further and extend Title VII protections to LGBTQ individuals. However, more recently, Federal Courts and agencies are divided on this issue. Further, with Justice Kennedy off of the Court and Justice Kavanaugh on the Court, the conservative majority is now prepared to rule on cases that may guide the legal status of LGBTQ workers for a generation.

In light of the conservative balance of the court, the need for outreach, advocacy, and support of social justice causes at all levels is even more critically important. JCJ will continue to watch, advocate, and rally our forces in favor of the LGBTQ rights.

Over 2,000 years ago, the Jewish Sages in the Talmud, recognized additional gender categories of Androgynous and Tumtum, indicating the legitimacy and need to advocate for the rights of individuals of all gender identities.

“An Androginus (a hermaphrodite, who has both male and female reproductive organs) is similar to men in some, and to women in other ways, in some ways to both, and in some ways to neither. Rabbi Meir says: Androginus is a (gender) category of its own, (because) the rabbis could not decipher whatever s/he is a man or a women. However a Tumtum is not so, as at times s/he is fully male, and at times s/he is fully female (but we can’t tell which).” – Mishnah Bikkurim 4:1-5

Join us in action on LGBTQ Rights here.