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Texas Christian activists are seeking to deny Civil Rights Act protect


A prominent antigay activist and a Texas evangelical church are employing a lawyer from a legal nonprofit started by former Trump adviser Stephen Miller to argue that some federal laws protecting LGBTQ workers actually don’t apply to bisexuals. In a brief filed with the Fifth Court of Appeals, which was first reported by the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday, they contend to have found a galaxy-brain-style loophole in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The logic goes as follows: Employers cannot refuse to hire or fire gay men for being attracted to men because they’d never do that to women for being attracted to men. But what if employers fired and refused to hire both bi men and bi women equally?

They argue that such employers, namely churches and other religious groups, should get a carve-out from the 2020 Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, which barred workplace discrimination for LGBTQ employees. “An employer who discriminates on account of an employee or job applicant’s bisexual orientation (or conduct) cannot engage in ‘sex’ discrimination as defined,” their filing says, “because that employer would have taken the exact same action against an identically situated individual of the opposite biological sex.”

The plaintiffs behind the lawsuit, which was filed midway through national Bisexual Awareness Week, are Bear Creek Bible Church in the Dallas area, and a Houston business owned by the physician and Republican megadonor Steven Hotze. Their lawyers are former Texas solicitor general Jonathan Mitchell and an attorney from American First Legal (Stephen Miller’s group that just happens to be suing the National Archives in order to get its hands on “federal records related to the Biden family corruption scandal,” among a variety of other current legal actions).

An erstwhile rightwing radio host, Hotze used to be a powerbroker in Texas politics—until his extreme views and conspiracy theories made him radioactive even in conservative circles. He’s opposed homosexuality and gay rights on biblical grounds for years, once endorsing a Houston mayoral candidate who argued one way to curb HIV’s spread would be “to shoot the queers.” As recently as 2016, he compared LGBTQ people to termites who “eat away at the very moral fabric of the foundation of our country.” However, more recently he’s become known for outspoken campaigns against COVID-19 vaccines (he believes they “inject experimental nanobots” into the body, turning people into “weapons of war”) and supporting both QAnon and Stop the Steal, a movement to reinstate President Trump after his 2020 election loss.

Bisexuals nowadays typically comprise a majority of Americans who identify as LGBTQ. According to one recent Gallup poll, almost 1 in 6 members of Gen Z now say they’re bi. But in the legal filing, Hotze and the church’s lawyers believe their get-out-of-workplace-discrimination-free pass also applies to transgender workers: “An employer who refuses to [employ] biological men who have had breast implants or breast-augmentation surgery has not violated [federal law] if he would equally refuse to employ women who obtain these treatments,” they write.

Their lawsuit asks the court to protect their First Amendment right to “refrain from employing those who engage in conduct that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs”—in this case, just bisexuals. If they were to prevail, employers could cite sincere religious belief as grounds to be exempt from the sex-based workplace discrimination barred by Bostock v. Clayton County.

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