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California Judge Decrees Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Sex Discrimination
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Summary: A California federal judge’s recent Title IX decision is a big win for the LGBT community. 

This past week, a California federal judge ruled that sex discrimination in education now includes a ban on sexual orientation discrimination, Buzzfeed reports.

  
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The ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Dean Pregerson is the first time a federal judge has made a ruling of this nature in connection with Title IX. Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 bans sex discrimination in education.

Pregerson wrote in his ruling, “The Court concludes that the distinction [based on gender stereotyping and discrimination based on sexual orientation] is illusory and artificial, and that sexual orientation discrimination is not a category distinct from sex or gender discrimination.”

The federal lawsuit was filed by Hayley Videckis and Layana White who allege that Pepperdine University discriminated and harassed them because people thought the two were in a lesbian relationship.

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The two women were on Pepperdine’s women’s basketball team. They said that their coach discriminated against them after staff concluded the two were lesbians in a relationship with each other.

The complaint said that Adi Conlogue, an athletic academic coordinator for the team, allegedly held meetings with each of the plaintiffs in an attempt to discover their sexual orientation. During these meetings, probing questions would be asked such as whether the two took vacations or pushed their beds together.



In recent years, federal officials and advocates have worked to expand the reach of Title IX and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination. Through a series of agency rulings, administrative moves, and court fights, these groups have paved the way for laws to include gender identity to protect transgender individuals. The moves have also worked to expand the definition of “sex” to include sexual orientation.

In the past four years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has made several rulings to ban discrimination against transgender people, and they are working to enforce these rulings across the country.

Pregerson cited the EEOC in his decision.

“This Court’s conclusion is in line with a recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) decision holding that sexual orientation discrimination is covered under Title VII,” Pregerson wrote.

The Justice Department supports the EEOC’s position, but has not yet commented on the lawsuit against Pepperdine University.

Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/federal-judge-rules-that-sexual-orientation-discrimination-i?utm_term=.mt1YbWrWG#.icnXAkRkJ



 

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