Skip to main content
Hero Image

As I Prepare for Oral Arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court, I Ask for Your Prayers

By John Bursch posted on:
October 3, 2019

Very soon, I’ll be walking into the U.S. Supreme Court courthouse.

With my client Tom Rost, his family, and the Alliance Defending Freedom legal team by my side, I will stand in front of the nine Justices and argue the R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission case.

We will face the task of trying to persuade the court that it should not redefine the meaning of “sex” under federal law. This will be challenging for me and the legal team, but I can’t even imagine how tough this will be for Tom.

Harris Funeral Homes has been in Tom’s family for over 100 years.

Six years ago, one of Tom’s male employees handed him a letter. The letter said that the employee planned to stop following Harris Funeral Home’s sex-specific dress code by beginning to dress and present as a woman when interacting with grieving families.

Tom was surprised and immediately concerned about what this employee must have been going through. But he also had concerns for his other employees. In particular, he thought of his female employees, including an eighty-year-old woman, who would have to share the same restroom as the male employee.

He also thought of the mourning family and friends whom Harris Funeral Homes serves. Harris Funeral Homes has professional dress and conduct codes to ensure that families visiting the funeral home can focus on the grieving process and not the funeral home and its staff. This employee agreed to and did abide by the dress code upon for nearly six years before presenting Tom with the letter.

Tom had a difficult choice to make. Ultimately, after thinking about it for two weeks, he decided he could not go along with the employee’s plan. But that was just the beginning of Tom’s troubles.

The employee went to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which filed a lawsuit against Tom and tried to redefine “sex” in federal law to include “gender identity.” Sadly, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Tom and the funeral home.

Now, Tom is at the U.S. Supreme Court. And while the federal government now agrees with Tom, the ACLU continues to push the case forward on the employee’s behalf. And the outcome of this case will have major consequences, not just for Tom, but for everyone if the Supreme Court decides to redefine “sex.”

So today, I want to ask for your prayers for Tom, his wife Nancy, and their entire family, that they will be blessed with peace throughout this very difficult process.

Also, I ask for your prayers for the entire ADF legal team as we argue this case, that we will be guided by the Holy Spirit to use words that are persuasive and winsome.

Please pray for the U.S. Supreme Court Justices, that their hearts and minds will be open to the legal arguments that we’re presenting to them.

And, humbly, I ask you to pray for me, so that I may be articulate in my arguments and connect with the Justices, so that they can hear the truth.

Finally, please pray for Tom’s former employee at the center of this case. This person is facing a difficult process too.

Thank you so much for your time, your attention, and most importantly, your prayers. We can feel those prayers, and we greatly appreciate it. Always.

John Bursch

John Bursch

Senior Counsel, Vice President of Appellate Advocacy

John Bursch is vice president of appellate advocacy and senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom.

Religious Freedom

4 Key Quotes Defending Women’s Sports From This Week’s Hearings on Title IX

This past week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights held a public hearing on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Religious Freedom

Women Sidelined While Transgender Athletes Get Hollywood Treatment

This is where the female athlete finds herself in 2021.

Religious Freedom

3 Years After Masterpiece

Three years ago this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Jack Phillips' favor in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.