WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the Justice Department, under the leadership of Trump Administration appointees, took the unusual step of proactively filing a legal brief to argue that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is legal under federal law. Many courts have ruled that such discrimination is outlawed by the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination, since discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is inherently linked to sex.
“A year ago, Trump stood on stage at the Republican National Convention and declared that he would ‘protect our LGBTQ citizens.’ Instead he is taking an unprecedented step to actively encourage discrimination against them. Let’s be 100% clear about where Donald Trump, Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions stand: with this action, they are advocating for Americans to be fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, or kicked out of a restaurant simply because of who they are and whom they love.
“This continuing attack on our LGBTQ community is disgraceful and must come to an end. President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Attorney General Sessions must reverse course immediately.”
Merkley is the author of the Equality Act of 2017, legislation that would make explicit and permanent the federal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans. He has also authored several amicus briefs, joined by dozens of other Members of Congress, in lower court lawsuits supporting the view that LGBTQ discrimination is banned under current law.