By Jonathon Van Maren
In a devastating 6-3 ruling on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt religious liberty a brutal blow and handed the LGBT movement a victory that stunned even them by deciding that both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are protected under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Antonin Scalia’s replacement Neil Gorsuch authored the majority opinion, and John Roberts joined him. President Donald Trump called it a “very powerful decision,” and most of the top GOP senators greeted the ruling with a collective shrug. Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley offered criticism, but for the rest, it appears that Rod Dreher has been correct in his constant warnings that much of the Republican Party is disinterested in doing the tough work necessary to protect religious liberty.
To discuss the implications of the ruling, I contacted Dr. Darel E. Paul, professor of political science at Williams College and author of the essential book From Tolerance to Equality: How the Elites Brought America to Same-Sex Marriage, published by Baylor University Press. He writes regularly for First Things, and I’ve had him on my podcast several times to share his insights on the transformation of American values. He was kind enough to share his perspective once again.
How would you explain this Supreme Court decision in layman’s terms?
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County decided that the word “sex” in Title VII of the famous 1964 Civil Rights Act—the section that deals with employment—must be understood to include both sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). President Trump’s first appointment to the Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch, wrote the majority opinion. This outcome was, suffice to say, quite a shock to conservatives. While social conservatives now worry over its implications for religious liberty and the state’s enforcement of progressive gender ideology, many liberal conservatives such as Mitt Romney and David French quickly reconciled themselves to the ruling.