Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is praising a recent court decision surrounding transgender discrimination.
Raoul says he’s pleased with the 2nd District Illinois Appellate Court affirmation of transgender persons’ rights under the Illinois Human Rights Act in the lawsuit against Hobby Lobby.
The Illinois Human Rights Commission ruled that Hobby Lobby violated the Illinois Human Rights Act when it denied Meggan Sommerville, a transgender woman, use of the women’s bathroom at the store where she works in North Aurora. The Appellate Court affirmed the commission’s determination that Hobby Lobby violated articles two and five of the Human Rights Act, which prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in the terms and conditions of employment and in the provision of facilities in a place of public accommodation. The commission had awarded Sommerville $220,000 in damages and required Hobby Lobby to grant Sommerville access to the women’s bathroom.
Raoul explained, the law defines “sex” as “the status of being male or female,” and does not draw distinctions based on reproductive organs, genetic information, or the sex marker used on a birth certificate. Raoul also argued that Hobby Lobby could stigmatize Sommerville by requiring her to use a single-occupant, unisex bathroom that, during the litigation, was built at the store where she works. Raoul encourages individuals to report instances of discrimination or harassment by calling his Civil Rights Hotline at 1-877-581-3692.