JONESBORO — The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Bostock v. Clayton County on Oct. 8 in Washington. The case, along with two others, could determine whether sexual orientation is protected in the American workplace under Title VII.

Gerald Lynn Bostock sued Clayton County after he was fired from his job as CASA volunteer coordinator. Bostock has alleged that an anonymous powerful person took issue with his being gay after learning that Bostock played in the Hotlanta Softball League. After word got around, Bostock said he was subjected to homophobic slurs at work, then fired for alleged financial mismanagement. Then-District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson did not find sufficient evidence to bring charges against Bostock, who argues the financial mismanagement claim was used as a pretext to fire him from his job with CASA.

When Bostock filed his complaint, he alleged discrimination on the basis of “sex” as opposed to “sexual orientation.” While federal law does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, it does prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.

Therein lies the legal question: whether firing someone for not conforming to the notion that men should only be attracted to women, or women to men, is a form of sex discrimination. The county argues that “sex” applies only to gender. Bostock argues that “sex” extends to cultural expectations about how men and women should act.

Many conservative religious groups have filed “friend of the court” briefs, arguing that it is not. These include Muslim American Leaders, the Islam and Religious Freedom Action Team, numerous religious universities, the National Organization for Marriage and the National Association for Evangelicals, among others.

County Attorney Jack Hancock will argue the case on behalf of Clayton County.

Transcripts of the arguments should be up at the Supreme Court the same day at https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcript/2019.

Audio of the arguments should be posted at the Supreme Court by Oct. 11 at https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_audio/2019.

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