A Catholic hospital in Maryland is facing a lawsuit from a transgender male that cites new Supreme Court precedent established last month when Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch sided with the liberal justices on the court.
As noted by Catholic News Agency, the suit claims discrimination after the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, a Catholic-founded hospital now in the University of Maryland Medical System, refused to remove the uterus of 33-year-old Jesse Hammons of Baltimore, a physically healthy transgender individual.
The suit argues “that the hysterectomy would not have been canceled if it were for a diagnosis other than gender dysphoria,” the Catholic outlet reported. “Because the hospital performs hysterectomies for other diagnosed conditions, it treated Hammons unfairly. Hammons said the surgery would help eliminate the production of estrogen and drastically improve mental health.”
Cited in the suit is the landmark Supreme Court decision from last month concerning gender.
“In a landmark 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court decided Monday that Title VII, which protects workers from employment discrimination on the basis of gender, can be interpreted to include discrimination based on sexual orientation, extending the protections of federal employment law to LGBT individuals,” The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti reported at the time.
“The ruling was unexpected,” Zanotti noted, “given the largely conservative makeup of the Supreme Court, and will likely give rise to further cases testing the limits of Title VII protections for LGBT workers, The Associated Press reports.”
Justice Gorsuch sided with the liberal justices in the majority – Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Gorsuch was appointed by President Donald Trump to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and was picked from a list compiled during Trump’s 2016 presidential run designed to nudge hesitant conservatives to support the campaign.
“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex,” Gorsuch wrote in his opinion. “Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
Justices Alito and Thomas dissented, stating that “sex” does not include “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”
“The Court tries to convince readers that it is merely enforcing the terms of the statute, but that is preposterous,” wrote Alito. “Even as understood today, the concept of discrimination because of ‘sex’ is different from discrimination because of ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity.’”
Trump-appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh dissented, as well.
Media relations director for the University of Maryland Medical System Michael Schwartzberg was not able to comment directly on the case, given federal privacy regulations, but noted that “any patient seeking care not available at the Catholic hospital can receive care at other hospitals in the system,” according to Catholic News Agency.
“The health and safety of our patients is, and always will be, our highest priority,” Schwartzberg said, adding that the hospital is built on “a mission of loving service and compassionate care.”