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Kaine Urges Court to Recognize Protections For LGBT Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and 129 Members of Congress have filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Christiansen v. Omnicom Group, Inc., arguing that workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is already prohibited under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 since these types of discrimination are inherently linked to sex discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of sex is banned under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

“Different interpretations of Title VII have led to uncertainty in the workplace and left LGBT Americans inconsistently protected from workplace harassment and discrimination, despite applicable federal law,” wrote the Senators and Representatives. “We firmly believe that Title VII’s sex discrimination provision already prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity, and we urge the Court to overrule erroneous Second Circuit precedent to the contrary.”

Kaine cosponsored the Equality Act, legislation that would clarify and expand current civil rights laws to better protect people of color, women and LGBT Americans from discrimination. Among other provisions, the Equality Act would clarify existing law by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of explicitly protected classes in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Senators and Representatives wrote in the brief that “the Equality Act acknowledges that Title VII already protects against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. Amici explicitly sought not to overrule case law and administrative holdings that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity are sex discrimination. We therefore took a ‘belt and suspenders’ approach when drafting the Equality Act’s substantive provisions. [T]he Equality Act would amend Title VII to explicitly include ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ as protected characteristics alongside ‘sex.’ We believed this would help clarify the statute for the average American who would look at its text without the benefit of legal experience or a repository of case law.”

A full list of the Senators and Representatives signing the brief can be found below:

U.S. Senators:

  1. Jeffrey A. Merkley
  2. Tammy Baldwin
  3. Cory A. Booker
  4. Patrick Leahy
  5. Edward J. Markey
  6. Al Franken
  7. Barbara A. Mikulski
  8. Patty Murray
  9. Mazie K. Hirono
  10. Ron Wyden
  11. Dianne Feinstein
  12. Sheldon Whitehouse
  13. Kirsten Gillibrand
  14. Sherrod Brown
  15. Brian Schatz
  16. Bernard Sanders
  17. Jack Reed
  18. Martin Heinrich
  19. Richard Blumenthal
  20. Mark R. Warner
  21. Richard J. Durbin
  22. Tim Kaine
  23. Gary C. Peters

U.S. Representatives:

  1. David N. Cicilline
  2. Nancy Pelosi
  3. Steny H. Hoyer
  4. Theodore E. Deutch
  5. Eleanor Holmes Norton
  6. Mike Quigley
  7. Jackie Speier
  8. Elizabeth H. Esty
  9. 9) Brad Ashford
  10. Grace F. Napolitano
  11. Mark Pocan
  12. Michael M. Honda
  13. Robert A. Brady
  14. Barbara Lee
  15. Dina Titus
  16. Bonnie Watson Coleman
  17. Raúl M. Grijalva
  18. Frederica S. Wilson
  19. Tony Cárdenas
  20. Stephen F. Lynch
  21. Juan Vargas
  22. Ruben Gallego
  23. Tim Ryan
  24. Sean Patrick Maloney
  25. Donald Norcross
  26. Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr.
  27. Steve Israel
  28. Suzanne Bonamici
  29. Bill Foster
  30. Jerrold Nadler
  31. Alan Lowenthal
  32. Donald S. Beyer Jr.
  33. Patrick E. Murphy
  34. Julia Brownley
  35. Janice Hahn
  36. Matt Cartwright
  37. James P. McGovern
  38. Hakeem Jeffries
  39. Norma J. Torres
  40. Kathy Castor
  41. Mike Thompson
  42. José E. Serrano
  43. Steve Cohen
  44. Joe Crowley
  45. Danny K. Davis
  46. John Conyers Jr.
  47. Scott H. Peters
  48. Chris Van Hollen
  49. Ed Perlmutter
  50. Derek Kilmer
  51. Diana DeGette
  52. Zoe Lofgren
  53. Jan Schakowsky
  54. Lois Capps
  55. Eric Swalwell
  56. Suzan DelBene
  57. Dan Kildee
  58. Grace Meng
  59. Alan Grayson
  60. Alcee L. Hastings
  61. Sam Farr
  62. Betty McCollum
  63. Mark Takano
  64. Rubén Hinojosa
  65. Niki Tsongas
  66. Sander M. Levin
  67. André Carson
  68. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
  69. Nydia M. Velázquez
  70. Ted W. Lieu
  71. Lois Frankel
  72. Linda T. Sánchez
  73. Joseph P. Kennedy
  74. Adam B. Schiff
  75. Jared Polis
  76. Seth Moulton
  77. Denny Heck
  78. Debbie Dingell
  79. Frank Pallone, Jr.
  80. Tammy Duckworth
  81. William R. Keating
  82. Lucille Roybal-Allard
  83. Peter Welch
  84. Loretta Sanchez
  85. Ben Ray Luján
  86. Kathleen M. Rice
  87. Luis V. Gutiérrez
  88. Carolyn B. Maloney
  89. Gregory W. Meeks
  90. Keith Ellison
  91. James R. Langevin
  92. Katherine Clark
  93. Brendan F. Boyle
  94. Susan Davis
  95. Elijah E. Cummings
  96. Marc Veasey
  97. Joaquin Castro
  98. John Garamendi
  99. Jim McDermott
  100. Yvette D. Clarke
  101. Brian Higgins
  102. Robert C. Scott
  103. Jim Himes
  104. Chellie Pingree