June 18, 2020

Statement by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge on Supreme Court Decision on Legal Definition of “Sex” in Civil Rights Law

In this week's decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, the Supreme Court has overstepped its bounds and imposed a legal definition which promotes a confused understanding of the nature and design of the human person. In seeking to address an employment issue, the majority opinion assigns to the word “sex” a meaning that those who passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act never would have imagined, and which Congress itself has declined to adopt. Indeed, the Court's definition of “sex” is so broad that it effectively empties the word of any real significance whatsoever. 

This decision potentially may have impact far beyond civil rights and employment laws. The Supreme Court erroneously decided that there is nothing distinct about being male or female. This decision, now written into the Court's precedent, only perpetuates our culture's misunderstandings about the very nature of the human person. 

The truth and beauty of being male and female is willed by Our Creator and is evident in nature. This distinction and complementarity form the building blocks of the family, which is the very foundation of any healthy and stable society. Let us pray that God, our Creator and Redeemer, continue to enlighten our hearts and minds to perceive and live this truth, now and always.

For additional information, contact Amber Roseboom, Director of Media Relations, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, at 571-215-8731 or

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The Catholic Diocese of Arlington was established on August 13, 1974, and is home to 70 parishes and more than 460,000 Catholics. There are currently 276 priests serving in the Diocese and 49 seminarians discerning a priestly vocation. The Diocese has 37 parish (K-8) schools, four diocesan high schools, four independent Catholic schools and five free-standing (not connected with a parish school) pre-schools, serving more than 17,000 students.

Geographically, the Diocese includes the seven cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester and the 21 counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, King George, Lancaster, Loudoun, Madison, Northumberland, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rappahannock, Richmond, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren and Westmoreland.