The bishops of the United States have urged the Supreme Court not to “redefine a fundamental element of humanity” by reinterpreting sex discrimination laws. 

The bishops’ intervention came as the court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a trio of cases that could decide whether or not federal workplace nondiscrimination law extend to protect sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Two of the cases presented on Oct 8— Bostock v. Clayton CountyAltitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda—involve employees who were fired because of their sexual orientation. A third, Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC,  involves a man who lost his job after announcing his intention to undergo so-called gender transition surgery.

Leading U.S. bishops urged the court not to redefine “sex” to mean “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, Bishop Robert McManus, of Worcester, who chairs the USCCB’s Religious Liberty committee, Bishop Frank Dewane, of Venice, chairman of the Domestic Justice and Human Development committee, and Bishop James Conley, of Lincoln, who chairs the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said that the law must be interpreted in line with the meaning of the text.

“Words matter,” the bishops said. “‘Sex’ should not be redefined to include sexual inclinations or conduct, nor to promulgate the view that sexual identity is solely a social construct rather than a natural or biological fact.”

“Title VII helps ensure the dignified treatment of all persons, and we as Catholics both share and work toward that goal,” the bishops wrote. 

“Redefining ‘sex’ in law would not only be an interpretive leap away from the language and intent of Title VII, it would attempt to redefine a fundamental element of humanity that is the basis of the family, and would threaten religious liberty.”

Franciscan University of Steubenville president Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR, also stated in an amicus brief submitted to the Court in the Harris case that, if the Court defined “sex” to mean “gender identity,” then that could open the door to the school being forced to change its sex-specific dorms, bathrooms, and locker rooms, and its medical personnel having to perform objectionable medical procedures.

Full story at Catholic News Agency.