Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., accused conservatives of using the “bogus” term “religious liberty” in order to hide their desire to discriminate.
“We know that Neil Gorsuch is a supporter of so-called religious liberty, which is a bogus term—it is actually some sort of pretext for discrimination hiding behind the guise of religion,” he said during an interview Monday with MSNBC.
Maloney was referring to the Supreme Court justice who wrote Monday’s majority opinion arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protected against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Gorsuch argued that both of those were “inextricably” bound up in sex, which the statute 1964 statute protects. He indicated, however, that religious liberty concerns could alter the way Title VII is applied in future cases.
He specifically referred to the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) as a “super statute” that “might supersede Title VII’s commands in appropriate cases.”
Conservatives have worried that anti-discrimination laws could be interpreted in ways that would conflict with employers’ religious convictions. Gorsuch’s reasoning, in particular, indicated to many that other regulations surrounding sex and gender would soon fall to a more liberal interpretation.
That included a recently finalized Health and Human Services regulation that said sex, as it was considered in an anti-discrimination provision, related to biological characteristics rather than perceived identity.
Maloney, the first openly gay representative from New York, said the Court’s decision was “amazing” and that it would improve “millions of lives.”
When asked about his message for young activists, Maloney argued that Congress would be a lot better if it had more high school students.
“Keep it up. If we had more high school kids in Congress, we’d be a better country. I mean, every major progressive movement right now is being led by young people,” he said.
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