WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would now consider discrimination against transgender individuals a form of sex discrimination barred by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Following this announcement, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement:

“Yesterday the nation’s top attorney declared what many have argued for years, that discrimination against transgender individuals is not only morally wrong, but should already be prohibited by the Civil Rights Act. This is a monumental step for the LGBT community in the long struggle to secure the rights promised to all Americans. Both Attorney General Holder and President Obama have said that they want the protection of civil rights to be a cornerstone of their legacies. Yesterday’s decision will stand as another mark of their commitment to equality. I hope that our nation’s judicial and legislative branches follow the Adminstration’s lead and do everything possible to protect the rights of transgender Americans.

“Those of us who hold steadfast to the separation of church and state have always been wary of the legal sanction given to discrimination against LGBT Americans. Often, though not always, defense of such discrimination is an unspoken way of giving a government imprint to religious bias and belief. We are grateful for the rejection of such religious establishment, embodied by yesterday’s policy change – it is both an important legal precedent and, hopefully, a bit of solace for a community who has waited far too long for recognition and protection.”

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.