Attorney General Steve Marshall announced on Monday that his office is leading a 23-state brief challenging an 11th Circuit Court decision that requires "favored treatment for employees who identify as transgender."

The brief challenges the court's interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

The case comes from Anna Lang, a sheriff's deputy from Houston County, Ga.

Lang sought a sex-change operation to transition from male to female. When told that the employer's insurance provider would not cover the operation, Lang sued under Title VII. A divided panel of the Eleventh Circuit found that the employer could be liable for violating Title VII by not paying for the operation. 

"This case calls out for correction by the full Eleventh Circuit," Marshall said in a release. "It is hard to overstate how radical the panel's decision is. With its interpretation of a federal statute meant to require equal treatment in the workplace, the court fundamentally transformed Title VII to require favored treatment for employees who identify as transgender by mandating coverage for any number of treatments or operations such an employee could want. The court's rewrite of Title VII will produce wide-ranging consequences for employers, who now face both greater liability and diminished clarity over how far the law extends. The court must correct this decision." 

In the brief, the petitioners argue that the 11th Circuit's "rewrite of Title VII will produce wide-ranging consequences for employers throughout the Circuit who now face both greater liability and diminished clarity over how far the law extends."

"[I]t is not discrimination to treat differently situated people or medical treatments differently," the brief reads. "That explains why Title VII does not require employers to cover abortions, for instance, even though '[women] [would be] the only plan participants who qualify for [abortion].' Nor does it command that employers cover erectile dysfunction drugs, even though only men would qualify. Likewise, Congress did not (sixty years ago) mandate that all employer health plans cover penile inversion surgeries." 

Petitioners are asking for the 11th Circuit to overturn the previous decision after a full hearing in court.

Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia joined Marshall In the brief. 

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