BLOGCan You Guess What Organization Is Driving the Legal Attack on Harris Funeral Homes?

By Sarah Kramer Posted on: | July 24, 2019

Tom Rost has known about Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) since its beginning.

One of Tom’s friends, who was instrumental in launching ADF, told Tom about the new ministry – and said that ADF would be countering the agenda of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

“I thought, ‘Wow, no kidding, something like that is going to be in existence,’” Tom said. “We have somebody on the other side that can fight. And so, we came alongside and partnered, never, ever thinking that we would need the services of Alliance Defending Freedom, that we would be a client.”

But 25 years later, ADF is representing Tom and Harris Funeral Homes at the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear their case on October 8.

And standing on the opposite side of the courtroom? The ACLU.


How It All Began

Harris Funeral Homes has been serving grieving families for over 100 years.

Everything Harris Funeral Homes does is to ensure that those who have lost a loved one can focus on the grieving process. To that end, Tom and his staff work to make sure Harris Funeral Homes is welcoming, immaculate, and professional. As part of this professionalism, all employees adhere to codes of conduct, including a sex-specific dress code.

But one day, a male funeral director who had worked for Harris Funeral Home for six years and always followed the dress code told Tom that he planned to begin dressing as a woman while interacting with grieving families. That left Tom with a difficult decision to make. After prayer and considering the interests of the male funeral director, the other employees, and the grieving families Tom serves, Tom decided this was not something he could agree to, and Harris Funeral Homes and the employee parted ways.

Then came the complaint. And later, a government agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sued Tom for sex discrimination.

But all Tom had done in making this decision was to act consistently with existing law, which allows business owners to have sex-specific dress codes. Even the EEOC’s guidance manual says that such dress codes are allowed. But these unelected officials decided to take the law into their own hands, redefining “sex” to mean “gender identity.”

ADF has been representing Tom in court ever since.

Eventually, the federal government changed course and now supports Tom and the funeral home. But the lawsuit is still ongoing.


Enter the ACLU

While the federal government reconsidered its position and reversed course, the ACLU continues to push for “sex” to be redefined in federal law. It now represents the former funeral director against Harris Funeral Homes at the U.S. Supreme Court.

There, it will ask the High Court to bypass our elected officials in Congress and redefine the law to mean what the ACLU wants it to mean.

But this should never happen.

There have been more than a dozen attempts in Congress to change the definition of “sex” in federal law – each of which have failed.

And there’s a reason for that.

Changing the definition of “sex” to mean “gender identity” in federal law has widespread consequences, especially for women and girls. It would require employers to treat men who believe themselves to be women as if they are, in fact, women. It would allow for women’s scholarships to be given to men who believe themselves to be women. And it would force organizations to open women’s shelters, locker rooms, and restrooms to men who believe themselves to be women.

Such a drastic change should not be made by unelected bureaucrats or courts.

But if the ACLU has its way, we’ll be forced to accept its views and all the consequences that come along with them.

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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