The Next Big Threat to Religious Freedom: The Supreme Court Will Have to Weigh In

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in matters of employment on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” The words “sexual orientation” are conspicuous by their absence. LGBT activists are seeking to have federal anti-discrimination laws amended to include sexual orientation and gender identity among the protected classes. Last year, the Seventh Circuit, in a breathtaking bit of linguistic and logical contortion, stretched the meaning of the word “sex” to include sexual orientation. More recently, the Second Circuit agreed while the Eleventh Circuit reached the opposite conclusion. Now we have a “conflict in the Circuits,” in which the meaning of Title VII depends on where you live. So eventually, the Supreme Court will have to settle the issue. Currently, 29 out of 50 states don’t have laws barring “discrimination” on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In these states, Christians don’t face the kind of difficult choices that Jack Phillips and Barronelle Stutzman did. If the Supreme Court agrees with the Seventh and Second Circuits, these twenty-nine states will have such a law imposed on them from above, just like those states that did not recognize same-sex marriage experienced with the Obergefell decision. Read more: