LGBT Rights

The Trump Administration’s earliest actions included a rollback of protections for transgender students. While the Administration has thus far left in place some safeguards for gays, bisexuals, and lesbians, many senior officials have announced their intent to undermine LGBT rights.

An Analysis of DOJ's Brief in Masterpiece Cakeshop

10/18/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

DOJ's effort to to transform this case into a freedom of speech decision threatens the integrity of First Amendment rights. It should be rejected.

Robert Post

Yale Law School

Aiming the Bully Podium at Minority Communities

10/11/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

By Mark Joseph Stern: From the NFL to Puerto Rico to the impending ban on transgender troops, Trump uses his “free speech rights” to bully minority communities into silence.

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Updates | The Week of October 2, 2017

10/8/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed the Obama-era DOJ position that Title VII bans discrimination against transgender workers.

Updates | The Week of September 25, 2017

10/1/17  //  Daily Update

The Second Circuit seemed hostile to the administration's anti-gay position during oral arguments in the pending Title VII case.

Updates | The Week of September 18, 2017

9/24/17  //  Daily Update

The Department of Defense issued guidance that transgender troops currently serving in the military can re-enlist; Senator McCain continues to oppose President Trump's ban on transgender service members. President Trump's judicial nominees believe LGBT rights should be rolled back.

Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Effort To Rewrite Smith and its Progeny

9/21/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

A sleeper issue is brought center stage by two leading religious liberty scholars

Jim Oleske

Lewis & Clark Law School

Trump’s Trans Ban Isn’t 'Frozen'

8/30/17  //  Commentary

It’s time to stop pretending the Executive Branch is going to check Donald Trump.

Eli Savit

University of Michigan Law School

What Does It Mean To Be Pro-LGBT?

8/27/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Trump Is Not Pro-LGBT, And Frankly He Never Was

Helen Klein Murillo

Harvard Law School '17

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Updates | The Week of August 14, 2017

8/20/17  //  Daily Update

The Pentagon has not yet banned transgender service members in the military. There is now a Circuit split on the issue of whether Title VII covers discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Updates | The Week of August 7, 2017

8/13/17  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration's proposed ban on transgender military service is not supported by science, and has drawn legal challenges from LGBTQ rights groups and service members.

Updates | The Week of July 31, 2017

8/6/17  //  Daily Update

The DOJ filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit arguing that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Commentary continued on President Trump's transgender military service ban.

Neo-Nazis, Wedding Cakes, and Compelled Speech

8/24/17  //  Commentary

Here I explore the interests asserted by GoDaddy and Google in denying service to neo-Nazis and their ilk. I then consider implications of my analysis for the pending Supreme Court case of Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm'n.

Michael C. Dorf

Cornell Law School

An Update on How to Easily Resolve the Gavin Grimm Case Concerning Title IX and Restroom Access

5/17/17  //  Commentary

With briefing almost completed in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, it’s good to remember the way in which the case can be resolved on straightforward statutory grounds without deciding whether Title IX prohibits discrimination against transgender persons, as such.

Marty Lederman

Georgetown Law

Michael C. Dorf

Cornell Law School

Samuel Bagenstos

University of Michigan Law School

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

7 Ways Trump Plans to Transform the Civil Rights Division

5/30/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The president’s proposed budget reveals an intent to roll back protections for the most vulnerable members of society.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

The Slants, Government Speech, and Elane Photography

6/22/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Thanks to the Supreme Court's ruling in Matal v. Tam, the government speech doctrine will not swallow the First Amendment.

Michael C. Dorf

Cornell Law School

Andrew Sullivan Is Wrong About Public-Accommodations Law

5/10/17  //  Commentary

Andrew Sullivan recently criticized gay people who seek to obtain services from those with religious objections to serving them. But Sullivan's criticism fundamentally misunderstands the basic purpose of public accommodations laws and should be rejected.

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Domestic Adherence to the Gender Binary

7/7/17  //  Quick Reactions

Three former Surgeons General have called for an end to involuntary medical procedures on intersex babies and children. U.S. immigration law sheds light on why this is such an important development.

Bijal Shah

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

No, the Chief Justice Did Not Just Embrace Obergefell

6/27/17  //  Commentary

Many commentators have misunderstood the significance of a per curiam ruling by the Supreme Court yesterday.

Joshua Matz


The Pence Policy And The Trump Administration’s Views on Anti-Discrimination

4/3/17  //  Commentary

Vice President Mike Pence’s policy of not dining with women is unconstitutional. It also suggests how far this administration will go to cut back on anti-discrimination law.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Trump's Hostility to LGBT Rights is Now Unmistakable

7/31/17  //  Commentary

Several years ago the assertion that Title VII does not prohibit sexual orientation discrimination might have been seen as merely cautious; today it can only be apprehended as reactionary and bigoted

Richard Thompson Ford

Stanford Law School

Trump and Pence Invoke Conscience to Block Contraception, Contrary to Our Religious Liberty Tradition

6/4/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Regulatory changes that the Trump-Pence Administration reportedly plans to implement extend well beyond our religious liberty traditions (and beyond accommodations authorized by the Supreme Court)

Douglas NeJaime

UCLA Law School

Reva Siegel

Yale Law School

A Lurking Threat to LGBT Rights & Religious Freedom

4/3/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Today, the Fifth Circuit hears argument in a major case about the future of religious liberty and LGBT rights. The law under review, HB 1523, is flagrantly unconstitutional. And the result of this appeal may profoundly influence Trump's still-evolving policies.

Joshua Matz


Some Notes On The Latest “Ban”

7/31/17  //  Commentary

There are some notable similarities between the President's announcement that transgender individuals would be banned from military service, and the ban(s) on entry from several Muslim majority countries.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Information Wars Part I: The Challenge To The Census

4/13/17  //  Commentary

The Trump administration has enacted several policies to conceal, subvert, or manipulate information. It has retracted a proposal to add LGBTQ identification to the U.S. census and eliminated LGBTQ identification from HHS surveys. These policies and others attempt to deny the existence of a problem by disappearing the (inconvenient) facts.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Helen Klein Murillo

Harvard Law School '17

The War on Transgender Soldiers Flies in the Face of the Facts

8/7/17  //  Commentary

By Ian W. Holloway & Jody L. Herman: As the Pentagon decides how to respond to Trump’s mandate, we urge that they consider our rigorous research and the lived experiences of transgender service members and their allies.

Take Care

Making Sense of the SCOTUS Per Curiam in Arkansas SSM Birth Certificate Case

6/29/17  //  Commentary

The challenged Arkansas law most certainly violated Obergefell's call for equal access to the constellation of benefits that accompany marriage. The per curiam got it right.

Michael C. Dorf

Cornell Law School

The Attack on American Cities

4/7/17  //  Commentary

Trump's anti-urban rhetoric has fanned the flames of a war by state governments against progressive cities. We see this in battles over sanctuary cities, LGBT rights, gun regulation, employee rights. The time has come for a campaign on behalf of city power.

Richard C. Schragger

UVA School of Law

The Transgender Ban is Facially Unconstitutional

7/26/17  //  Quick Reactions

Such a blanket prohibition, tweeted out in advance of the Pentagon completing a policy review, is so lacking in credibility that its only motivation seems to be animus towards transgender people.

Jamal Greene

Columbia Law School

Deep Problems with the Proposed Executive Order on Religious Freedom

5/3/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

It's rumored that tomorrow, Trump will issue an executive order on "religious freedom," singling out for protection only traditional and conservative religious views on sex, marriage, sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy. That order will most certainly raise grave constitutional issues under the Establishment Clause.

Ira C. Lupu

George Washington University Law School

Robert W. Tuttle

George Washington University Law School

A Landmark Victory for LGBT Rights (And The Path Ahead)

4/5/17  //  Commentary

The en banc Seventh Circuit has held that Title VII protects against sexual orientation discrimination. SCOTUS is likely to grant review of this important issue in the near future. But it remains unclear what position the Trump Administration will take.

Joshua Matz


Versus Trump Podcast: G.G. Case + Patti Goldman

5/25/17  //  Commentary

On a new episode of Versus Trump, Take Care's podcast, we discuss the status of G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, a major case about transgender rights, and then speak with Patti Goldman of Earthjustice about an important lawsuit that her organization has filed.

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Fifth Circuit Ruling Threatens LGBT Rights & Religious Freedom

7/17/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The Fifth Circuit his reversed a preliminary injunction against HB 1523, Mississippi's unusual anti-LGBT "religious freedom" law. Its reasoning is incorrect and at odds with precedent. En banc review is warranted to establish uniformity in the law and vindicate important constitutional principles.

Joshua Matz


Mitch Landrieu and the Anti-Denigration Constitution

5/25/17  //  Commentary

Mitch Landrieu’s speech defending the removal of Confederate war monuments in the heart of New Orleans is an eloquent reminder that the Constitution forbids acts that subordinate or denigrate, whether in the context of religion, LGBT rights, or racial equality.

Richard C. Schragger

UVA School of Law

Micah Schwartzman

University of Virginia School of Law

Nelson Tebbe

Brooklyn Law School

Updates | The Week of July 17, 2017

6/25/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump's judicial nominees raise serious concerns for LGBT advocates, and AG Sessions may prove unwilling to defend LGBT rights.

Updates | The Week of April 17, 2017

4/23/17  //  Daily Update

The New York Times argued that the federal courts will be the last resort for LGBT progress during this Administration. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign argued the Administration should stand against the Chechen human rights abuses toward gay men.

Updates | The Week of June 12, 2017

6/18/17  //  Daily Update

The Department of Commerce has excluded sexual orientation and gender identity from its 2017 Equal Employment Opportunity statement.

Updates | The Week of May 29, 2017

6/4/17  //  Daily Update

Federal courts ruled this week that transgender rights are protected under Title IX and under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Meanwhile, President Trump remained silent on the violence targeted at gay men in Chechnya, even as the new French president spoke out strongly in meetings and a news conference with Vladimir Putin.

Helen Klein Murillo

Harvard Law School '17

Updates | The Week of May 8, 2017

5/14/17  //  Daily Update

Critics of anti-discrimination laws regarding public accommodations misunderstand the overarching purpose of those laws. Further, the decision not to collect LGBT census data could be a missed opportunity for improving the lives of LGBT Americans.

Updates | The Week of July 10, 2017

7/16/17  //  Daily Update

Commentary continued on the call by several former Surgeon Generals to ban involuntary surgery on intersex children.

Updates | The Week of June 5, 2017

6/11/17  //  Daily Update

Secretary of Education Betsy Devos refuses to answer whether her department will refuse federal funding to private schools that discriminate against LGBT students.

Updates | The Week of March 27, 2017

4/2/17  //  Daily Update

A potential executive order addressing religious freedom has surfaced, and Ira Lupu and Robert Tuttle argue that it has profound constitutional infirmities. President Trump's appointment of Roger Servino within the Department of Health and Human Services has drawn criticism from LGBTQ groups.

Updates | The Week of July 3, 2017

7/9/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump’s nominee to head the Civil Rights Division of DOJ has come under criticism for his record on LGBT rights and defense of workplace discrimination policies.

Updates | The Week of April 24, 2017

4/30/17  //  Daily Update

The nominee for Army Secretary has a strong anti-LGBTQ track record, and President Trump has targeted national monuments, including the Stonewall Inn.

Updates | The Week of August 21, 2017

8/24/17  //  Daily Update

Lambda Legal is suing the Trump administration to release documents related to the reversal of the administrative guidance that permits transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity.

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

The Seventh Circuit broadened workplace rights for LGBT employees in an en banc decision. Take Care featured analysis from Joshua Matz. President Trump's proposed budget would cut tens of millions of dollars in HIV research and prevention.

Updates | Week of March 20, 2017

3/21/17  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration has made a damaging turnabout on gay rights, and LGBT communities fear an absence of hate crime prosecutions under Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Updates | The Week of April 10, 2017

4/16/17  //  Daily Update

This week, President Trump prompted outrage with his appointment of two men with a history of discriminatory statements against LGBT people.

Updates | The Week of May 1, 2017

5/7/17  //  Daily Update

The administration's newest executive order and the decision to roll back Affordable Care Act regulations may increase LGBT discrimination.

Take Care