Circuit Court Rules State Attorney General Can Deny Job to Lesbian Planning to Marry

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court, in an 8 – 4 decision, has ruled that has ruled that Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers has the right to fire an employee whose conduct Bowers believed at odds with his office’s positions. Bowers, who successfully upheld Georgia’s anti-sodomy law before the Supreme Court in 1986, offered to hire Robin Shahar in 1991 as a staff attorney, but retracted the offer soon after he learned that she planned to marry her partner, Fran Greenfield, in a Jewish ceremony. Shahar sued and claimed Bowers was denying her rights of free association, freedom of religion, and equal protection. A three-member panel of the 11th Circuit Court agreed with her, but the full panel agreed to hear the case and overruled the previous decision. The American Civil Liberties Union, which argued the case, is considering whether or not to seek a Supreme Court review. Matt Coles of the ACLU commented, “A person’s job should not hinge on whether the boss approves of his or her personal relationship. Lesbians and gay men ought to have the right to a job and a relationship without having to choose between the two.”


CNN Online - June 2, 1997

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