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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Attorney General TJ Donovan Opposes Employment Discrimination on the basis of Sexual Orientation

March 19, 2018

AG Donovan Joins Coalition Urging Federal Appellate Court to Declare Workplace Sexual Orientation Discrimination Illegal Under Federal Law

 Attorney General TJ Donovan joined 15 other attorneys general in filing an amicus brief arguing that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the brief filed with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Horton v. Midwest Geriatric Management, LLC, the attorneys general urge the court to join a growing number of federal appellate courts in recognizing that Title VII’s workplace protections extend to sexual orientation.

Attorney General Donovan, along with the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut, previously filed a similar brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which successfully made the same argument. The Second Circuit’s decision in that case can be found here. The coalition of attorneys general in the Horton case argue that these recent federal appellate court decisions were correctly decided based on the plain wording of Title VII, decades of U.S. Supreme Court precedent and common sense.

As the coalition’s brief states:

“In Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court held that an anti-miscegenation law violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, concluding that the State of Virginia could not prohibit marriages on the basis of a racial classification. Here, as in Loving, Horton alleges that he was subjected to discrimination based on his association with a member of a protected class, except that sex, rather than race, is the protected class at issue. In other words, treating a man who loves a man worse than a man who loves a woman is a form of sex discrimination.”

Joining Vermont in filing the brief were the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia and Washington.

A copy of the brief can be found here.

Last modified: March 19, 2018