JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri's attorney general believes that federal law doesn't protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt was among GOP attorneys general nationwide who signed a U.S. Supreme Court brief outlining the position Friday.

The attorneys general are wading into a legal battle over whether discriminating against someone because they're gay or transgender violates a federal law banning sex discrimination. The cases will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 8.

Schmitt's spokesman Chris Nuelle says when the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, sex discrimination did not include transgender people. Nuelle says it's up to Congress, and not the Supreme Court, to change that.

Nuelle says Schmitt believes that regardless of "race, creed, zipcode, or gender," everyone should be treated with dignity under the law.

The action drew criticism from one of the state's oldest advocacy groups for LGBTQ rights.

“No one should be fired from their job simply because of who they are or who they love," Steph Perkins, executive director of PROMO, said in a statement released by the organization Monday. "But the harsh reality is that nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ people report having experienced discrimination in their everyday lives."

Missouri ranks in the lowest category for protections for LGBTQ people in the Human Rights Campaign's State Equality Index. The annual report, which was released in January, measures protections for LGBTQ people in every state. The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Missouri Human Rights Act, was first introduced in 1998. Though it has been re-introduced every year since, it has yet to be passed by the Missouri legislature.

"Since Missouri Attorney General Schmitt believes that Title VII does not include protections for LGBTQ Missourians, we look forward to working with him to take action right here in Missouri to ensure hardworking Missourians can't be fired from their jobs, denied housing, or refused services simply because they are LGBTQ," Perkins said.