LGBT activists rally to teacher's legal case

Friday, December 2, 2016
Billy Davis, Steve Jordahl (

gavel with U.S. flagA discrimination case currently before a Chicago federal appeals court is being watched closely. 

Attorneys for lesbian teacher Kimberly Hively allege she was denied a full-time position and later fired at Ivy Tech Community College, located in Indiana, due to her sexuality, a claim the school denies.  

But it's her attorneys' claim of a Civil Rights Act violation that is raising eyebrows, since the landmark 1964 law includes sex but not sexual orientation.

"It's a hijacking of the Civil Rights movement," says Micah Clark, of the American Family Association of Indiana, "to equate a sexual choice or behavior with an inborn genetic trait like skin color."

The case was heard Nov. 30 in front of the 7th Circuit after it was first dismissed in 2015, when the court ruled that Hively failed to make her claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, The Chicago Tribune reported.

An appeals court upheld that ruling in July but agreed in October to vacate that ruling and rehear the case.

The Tribune story said Hively was represented this week by an attorney for Lambda Legal, a law organization that champions homosexual rights.

The Lambda attorney asked the judges to "interpret the law in a broader sense than how it was written half a century ago," the story recounted.

The involvement of Lambda suggests the importance of the discrimination case to homosexual activists, and a cursory online search shows Hively's case is being watched by a sympathetic audience.

"7th Circuit can make civil rights history for gay and lesbian empoyees," declares the story headline written by a Reuters legal columnist.

"This woman's court case could secure LGBT rights in the workplace," predicts a headline at New York Magazine.

Clark warns that a legal battle is brewing in the 7th Circuit that could force a church-operated Christian school, for example, to hire open homosexuals per a new interpretation of the Civil Rights Act.

And that's not just a far-fetched prediction, either. Christian colleges in California faced a similar situation this year, and churches in Massachusetts are fighting back in that liberal state. 

 "When you elevate a sexual behavior with moral connotations such as homosexuality," Clark warns, "you tend to take away rights of free speech and religious liberty."


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