Court Battles

Franklin Graham sounds off on SCOTUS ruling over LGBTQ worker rights

Evangelical leader Franklin Graham sounded off this week on the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that gay and transgender people are protected against employment discrimination under existing civil rights laws and said he believes the decision “erodes religious freedoms across this country.”

In a Monday Facebook post knocking the decision, Graham, a staunch supporter of President Trump, said the ruling “went too far” and added that the Court “exists to interpret the law, not to make new laws—making laws is the job of our Representatives in Congress, elected by the people.”

“People of sincere faith who stand on God’s Word as their foundation for life should never be forced by the government to compromise their religious beliefs,” Graham, son of late evangelist Billy Graham, wrote. “Christian organizations should never be forced to hire people who do not align with their biblical beliefs and should not be prevented from terminating a person whose lifestyle and beliefs undermine the ministry’s purpose and goals.”

Graham is one of a number of conservatives who spoke out against the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, which said that transgender and gay employees are protected against workplace discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on the basis of sex. The ruling makes it illegal for employers to fire workers for being gay or transgender.

“As a Bible-believing follower of Jesus Christ, my rights should be protected. Even if my sincerely held religious beliefs might be the minority, I still have a right to hold them,” he wrote. “The same holds true for a Christian organization. These are the freedoms our nation was founded on. The Supreme Court does not override and will never overturn the Word of God.

“One day we will all have to stand before God, the Righteous Judge, whose decisions are not based on politics or the whims of culture. His laws are true and are the same yesterday, today, and forever,” Graham added in the post, which has since racked up more than 144,000 reactions on Facebook and is drawing viral criticism on Twitter.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed by Trump, drew ire from conservative groups on Monday for breaking with the other conservative-leaning justices and joining the majority in the 6-3 decision.

“In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee,” he wrote in the opinion. “We do not hesitate to recognize today a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.” 

However, he also wrote in the opinion that “how these doctrines protecting religious liberty interact with Title VII are questions for future cases too.”

In a statement knocking Gorsuch on Monday, Carrie Severino, president of the conservative organization Judicial Crisis Network, said the late Justice Antonin Scalia “would be disappointed that his successor has bungled textualism so badly today, for the sake of appealing to college campuses and editorial boards.”

“All those evangelicals who sided with Trump in 2016 to protect them from the cultural currents just found their excuse to stay home in 2020 thank to Trump’s Supreme Court picks,” conservative radio host and blogger Erick Erickson said on Monday.

Trump, whose administration had argued the existing civil protections did not extend to gay and transgender workers, said after the ruling on Monday that “some people were surprised.”

But he ultimately said that the Supreme Court “ruled and we live with their decision.”

Tags Donald Trump LGBTQ rights Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Neil Gorsuch Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court of the United States Transgender rights in the United States

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