Media Contact

Jessica McFadden, Communications Director, (843)282-7951, jmcfadden@aclusc.org

August 29, 2018

The Attorney General of South Carolina, Alan Wilson, does not speak for all South Carolinians or all legal authorities in a recent amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court of the United States. Attorneys General for 16 states argue that the Supreme Court should reverse a 6th Circuit Court’s decision that employers cannot legally fire an employee for being transgender.  That court held that the firing of a transgender woman was a violation of Title VII’s protections based on sex. 

The amicus brief argues that “sex” does not also means “gender identity,” since “gender identity” does not appear in Title VII.

While we can agree that “gender identity” doesn’t appear in the statute, the 6th Circuit was correct when it determined that discrimination based on transgender and transitioning status is akin to discrimination based on sex and is thus unconstitutional.  To suggest otherwise is a ridiculous semantics argument to advance a message of division and to deny recognition of a real human condition. 

The determination that employers cannot discriminate based on sex was and is rooted in the fact that a person’s ability to perform a job has nothing to do with anatomy. To advocate that a person who is transitioning or has transitioned does not deserve those same protections is shortsighted and a failure to acknowledge reality.

Alan Wilson is the Attorney General of the state of South Carolina.  This state has serious challenges that relate to life and death.  We were home to the deadliest prison riot in decades, which prompted a nationwide strike to call attention to the deplorable conditions of prisons and the treatment of inmates.  We have the reputation (proven by statistics) of being unsafe for women in terms of domestic violence.  It has taken a federal lawsuit to force our Department of Social Services to begin to bring our foster care system up to 21st century standards. Allowing employers to legally fire people for their gender identity is a solution in search of a problem, and we urge the Attorney General to stop using the authority of South Carolina to engage in semantic battles that will not benefit the citizens of this state and to focus on the life and death problems South Carolinians face every day.

This statement can be found here: https://www.aclusc.org/en/press-releases/ag-wilsons-misguided-attack-tra...

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