Scott McElhaney Discusses Ruling on LGBTQ Discrimination Claims Against Religious Businesses

November 3, 2021 | Mentions

A federal judge in Fort Worth ruled on October 31 that for-profit businesses with sincerely held religious beliefs can be shielded from LGBTQ discrimination claims, carving out exceptions to sexual orientation and gender identity protection previously granted by the Supreme Court. Jackson Walker partner Scott McElhaney spoke with The Dallas Morning News about the opinion.

“The Supreme Court didn’t decide the issue of the extent to which businesses that are owned by folks with strong religious beliefs might be exempt from that general rule,” he said. “This opinion from Judge O’Connor is the first ruling on that issue.”

In 2020, the Supreme Court decided that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applied to LGBTQ workers. While churches have long been exempt from Title VII, Scott noted that this week’s opinion is significant because it addresses for-profit businesses.

“The part that will have broader impact is the ruling about religious businesses, those owned by people with strong, sincerely held religious beliefs,” Scott said.

To read the full article from The Dallas Morning News, visit “Fort Worth judge rules religious businesses can be shielded from LGBTQ discrimination claims(subscription required).

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Scott M. McElhaney
Partner, Dallas