A federal court in Texas has ruled that the Biden administration acted beyond its authority when it mandated protections last year for LGBTQ employees who wanted to use bathrooms based on their personal gender identity — instead of on than their biological sex.
U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled on October 1 that LGBTQ protections set out in a 2021 guidance issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) went too far.
— National Law Review (@natlawreview) October 8, 2022
Judge Kacsmaryk was appointed to the federal bench by President Donald Trump and approved by the Senate in 2019.
Judge Kacsmaryk set aside rules permitting non-compliant bathroom use and personal pronouns that comply with gender identity. He found that although Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits hiring practices that are discriminatory against the LGBTQ community, it does not protect “necessarily all correlated conduct.” He found that bathroom use and demanded pronouns are not covered by civil rights law.
The EEOC issued the new guidance after the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that Title VII covers workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender opinion. The majority opinion in that case, written by Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, extended the coverage of the law, even though LGBTQ persons are not specifically identified in the statute.
Judge Kacsmaryk found that the Bostock case held that “an.employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.” However, the new EEOC guidance went far beyond the decision to hire or fire.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the federal lawsuit in September 2021 on behalf of the State of Texas against the EEOC, alleging that new guidance “increases the scope of liability for all employers.” The complaint in the case argued that each state has the power to enact its own LGBTQ policies regarding restrooms rather than the federal government.
Paxton responded to the ruling in a press release that said the “decision is not only a win for the rule of law, but for the safety and protection of Texas children.” He pledged to continue to fight the Biden administration’s “unlawful attempts to use federal agencies to normalize extremist positions that put millions of Texans at risk.”