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Brooks says ruling on LGBTQ+ workplace discrimination “dumbest” he’s ever read

Congressman Mo Brooks

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, who represents Alabama’s 5th Congressional District, called the Supreme Court decision that federal anti-discrimination laws cover gay, lesbian and transgender workers the “dumbest” he’s “ever read.”

The Supreme Court on Monday, in a landmark 6-3 ruling, found that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act offers protection against workplace discrimination due to one’s sexual or gender identity.

Before the ruling, Alabama — along with 27 other states — had no explicit anti-discrimination laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A person could be fired for being gay or transgender without legal recourse.

Brooks, R-Huntsville, posted a series of tweets Tuesday saying LGBTQ+ “conduct” should not have the same discrimination protections as “birth traits.”

“There is a difference between SEX (over which person has NO control) & CONDUCT (over which person has TOTAL control). In a Republic, ELECTED reps make law. APPOINTED judges interpret law. Bad,” Brooks wrote in one tweet.

Matthew Brown, the chair of the Alabama Democratic Party’s LGBTQ caucus, condemned Brooks’ comments in a statement today, saying Brooks’ words demonstrate a “remarkable level of ignorance” regarding the LGBTQ+ community.

“A person has no more control over their sexuality than the color of their skin. By claiming that people can control this, Brooks is suggesting that, in order to not be at risk of being fired, LGBTQ+ people ought to deny who they are and pretend to be something they are not,” Brown said. “Trying to force people back in the closet is profoundly immoral and appropriately illegal.”

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In response to a tweet asking Brooks why LGBTQ+ workers should not have the same civil rights as everyone else, Brooks tweeted: “Whether LGBT CONDUCT has same anti-discrimination rights as BIRTH TRAITS YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER (race, ethnicity) is POLICY matter decided by ELECTED representatives IN A REPUBLIC.”

The Supreme Court’s majority decision Tuesday was written by Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, a textualist conservative appointed by President Donald Trump and confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate. Gorsuch was joined in the majority opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts and all of the high court’s liberal justices.

“Once again, Congressman Brooks is breaking with conservative, moderate, and liberal legal experts alike and aligning himself with fringe ideas,” Brown said. “He should apologize to the North Alabama LGBTQ+ Community for these outrageous comments and commit to educating himself about the issues that affect our community.”

Jessa Reid Bolling is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter and graduate of The University of Alabama with a B.A. in journalism and political science.

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