Texas House Representative Louie Gohmert stepped up Republican rhetoric against trans people this week, warning that the country would be in danger if LGBTQ+ people are provided the same job protections as other groups.
Gohmert was speaking at the Values Voter Summit, an annual conservative gathering for anti-LGBTQ+ activists, hosted by the Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group Family Research Council. A longtime opponent of LGBTQ+ equality, the Congressman brought up R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, one of three employment discrimination cases currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
If the court rules that employers cannot fire people on the basis of gender identity, Gohmert claimed the country would face “such obscurity for right and wrong that it will chaos [sic].” He also predicted chaos would come from “these great dictators,” presumably referring to trans people who simply want equal rights.
Gohmert went onto attack Supreme Court plaintiff Aimee Stephens, who was dismissed from her job after she began transitioning. He misgendered Stephens, while saying that people who transition are simply in violation of their employers’ policies.
In describing last week’s oral arguments, Gohmert misrepresented the position of Justice Neil Gorsuch. He claimed that the conservative justice said the Supreme Court should “take into consideration the massive social upheaval that would be entailed” from ruling that trans people are entitled to equal protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits bias on the basis of characteristics like race and sex.
But while Gorsuch raised the question during last week’s hearing, that doesn’t mean the statement is indicative of his position. Justices often ask “devil’s advocate” questions to test the strength of legal arguments.
In fact, Gorsuch suggested that he is open to an expansive definition of the word “sex” that could clear a path to a favorable ruling.
Gohmert went further, telling attendees they would soon be prevented from holding certain beliefs. “You will not have the freedom to believe what Moses and Jesus said about sexuality,” Gohmert said. “That will be gone. You will be deemed a hater. You will be deemed to be mean-spirited when you have nothing but love for your fellow man but you know right and wrong, you’ve learned that.”
Later in his remarks, Gohmert complained that the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act will be used to be used to “prosecute Christian ministers for reading from the Bible.”
There’s no evidence that has occurred since the bill was signed into law in 2009, or any indication that it could in the future.
Gohmert wasn’t the only homophobic politician to speak at the Value Voters Summit. Donald Trump celebrated coming out day by delivering an address to the group.