By Vatican News
Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, the President of the USCCB, has said he is “deeply concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively redefined the legal meaning of ‘sex’ in our nation’s civil rights law.” He described the Court’s action as “an injustice that will have implications in many areas of life.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling
In a ruling issued on Tuesday, the Supreme Court held that an employer who fires an individual merely for being homosexual or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That statute prohibits employment discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex, and national origin. The judgment concerned three cases: two dealing with “sexual orientation” and one with “gender identity”.
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion of the court, ruling that an employer who fires someone “for being homosexual or transgender” is discriminating against them “in part because of the applicant’s sex” and thus constituted discrimination based on sex.
The meaning of “sex” discrimination
Various religious organizations, including the USCCB, had argued that the term “sex” as used in Title VII does not include “sexual orientation” and does not mean “gender identity.”
In amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs filed before the Supreme Court, the USCCB noted that the various cases involved “values of particular importance,” including “protection of the religious freedom and other rights of faith-based organizations and their adherents, and the proper development of the nation’s jurisprudence on these issues.”
God’s plan for creation
In his statement following Tuesday’s ruling, Archbishop Gomez recalled that “Every human person is made in the image and likeness of God and, without exception, must be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect.” However, he continued, “Protecting our neighbours from unjust discrimination does not require redefining human nature.”
The USCCB President focused on “God’s plan for creation and for our lives,” which includes “the beautiful differences and complementary relationship between man and woman.” He explained, “As Pope Francis has taught with such sensitivity, to live in the truth with God’s intended gifts in our lives requires that we receive our bodily and sexual identity with gratitude from our Creator.”
He concluded his statement with the prayer that the Church “will be able to continue her mission to bring Jesus Christ to every man and woman.”