Texas Firm Petitions Court For Religious Exemption to Fire LGBT People

A Texas federal court received a petition from Braidwood Management, Inc. to provide a religious exemption that will allow them to discriminate against LGBTQ+ staff. 



The company’s owner, Steve Hotze, claims to run a “Christian business.” He will not allow the company "to hire or employ individuals who are known to engage in sexually immoral behavior or gender non-conforming conduct of any sort, including homosexuality, cross-dressing, and transgenderism.” 

Hotze expects to derail the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) discernment of Title VII, which the Supreme Court accepted last year in the Bostock v. Clayton Company’s case. 

Title VIIprohibits an employer to discriminate based on sex. And in Bostock, the court ruled that LGBTQ+ discrimination is impossible without making an employee’s gender an issue. Sex discrimination would encompass, for example, an employer who may fire a man for marrying another man but would not fire a woman for marrying a man. That is sex discrimination.

Still, Hotze argues with a list of rules he made up that would allow him to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals without sex or gender becoming a barrier or violating Title VII. These rules include:

  1. “No employee, male or female, may enter a gay bar or gay bathhouse ...
  1. “No employee, male or female, may engage in the sexual practices associated with 

homosexuality …

  1. “No employee, male or female, may engage in ‘deviate sexual intercourse,’ as that term is 

defined in section 25.02 of the Texas Penal Code ...

  1. “No employee, male or female, may use Grindr (or other dating apps used primarily by 

homosexuals) ...

  1. “No employee, male or female, may seek or obtain hormone therapy unless prescribed 

for a medical condition other than gender dysphoria ...

  1. “No employee, male or female, may undergo surgery to modify their genitals unless that 

surgery is needed for a medical condition other than gender dysphoria.”

In the Texas Penal Code, Section 25.02, anal and oral sex are banned, which is certainly within the category of ‘deviate sexual intercourse.’ If that is the case, then Hotze would not be able to hire most heterosexual people either. Of course, he may just be using that as a cover for his desire to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community.

After everything he put on the table, Hotze asks if, at the very least, he could be allowed to fire bisexual people.

“An employer who discriminates against all bisexual employees – regardless of whether they are male or female – cannot possibly be engaged in ‘sex’ discrimination under Bostock,” reads the filing, “That is because the ‘same trait’ (sexual attraction toward members of both sexes) is treated exactly the same regardless of whether that ‘trait’ appears in a woman or a man.”

Hotze had already admitted his contempt for the queer community. He presented the claim about having a problem with bisexual people as a loophole argument. He still aims at LGBTQ+ people as his primary target. 

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality nationwide, Hotze claims that most of the justices “hate God” and “want to let sodomites queer our country.” 

In 2013, the CRT (led by Hotze) pressed a Texas court to order the city of Houston to cease offering its LGBTQ+ employees the marriage benefits enjoyed by straight couples. 

In 2015, Hotze toured throughout Texas, spreading his anti-LGBTQ+ intolerance, which also supported the conservative group known as “Real Marriage.” He compared so-called “homofascists” to Nazis and promised they would eradicate them from Houston to San Francisco. 

“Homofascists were enabled and appeased by those who treated their behavior as normal or acceptable,” he announced during his tour. “The indoctrination started in public schools, by design. Remember: Homosexuals can’t reproduce. They have to recruit.”

In an interview during his tour, Hotze added that “It’s a wicked, evil movement, and we’re fighting it with everything we have.” 

Also in 2015, he stated “They want to intimidate individuals, churches, schools, and families to celebrate those that participate in anal sex. That’s what they love and enjoy: anal sex. And that’s bad, that’s evil. It’s a terrible thing to try to do, and they want to try to teach it to kids in schools,” he said. “Kids will be encouraged to practice sodomy in kindergarten.”

He said their group, “Real Marriage,” will persuade businesses that do not already resist “the homosexual political movement.”

Because of Hotze’s transphobic and homophobic rants, the CRT was labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in 2016.

“These groups are on the defensive against huge social changes that they cannot stop,” said a senior SPLC member, Mark Potok. “The religious right has suffered very serious losses, losses from which it will not recover, and an enormous amount of rage has resulted.”

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