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 celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.