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Supreme Court To Decide Scope Of Civil Rights Law For Gay Americans

April 23, 2019

The news Monday was expected, and yet it seemed like every legal move takes forever to occur.  The process does move in a methodical fashion.

News that the the Supreme Court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guarantees protections from workplace discrimination for gay and transgender people–in a presidential election year–will be nothing short of a barometer reading concerning how this newly formed set of conservative justices view the rights of gay Americans.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said the 1964 act does guarantee protections for gay people.  My readers will not be surprised that the Trump administration has pushed for the Act to be viewed as not applying to sexual orientation or transgender status.

So bring in the justices to weigh in on the law of the land.   And also bring up the stress level for gay Americans who seek equality and protection under the law.

The cases come down to a central general concept.  Anyone is free to have an opinion, but that person is not free to discriminate on the basis of it.  That seems a very basic and easy to digest summation.

The cases range from a skydiving instructor who said he was fired because he was gay, a  Georgia case being brought by a child welfare services coordinator who said he was fired for being gay, and an employee who was fired from a Michigan funeral home after she announced in 2013 that she was a transgender woman and would start working in women’s clothing.

How we are still doing battle for the rights of people over sexual persuasion and identity is, on the one hand baffling, while on the other hand offensive.  In 2019 when the cases are heard, and in 2020 when the cases are ruled should already be a time when it is most clear that such discrimination is not only illegal, but also immoral and inhumane.   What is wrong with people who think their bigotry should rule?

From a legal perspective I do find credibility with the argument raised last night on a talk show that trying to interpret Title VII, a law passed some 55 years ago, might be problematic when dealing with the issues at hand today–such as with transgender people.   I understand the legal and political jockeying that such a line of thinking takes us.   Because with that line of reasoning comes the need for another new law to prohibit anti-gay discrimination.

That would be a long political chapter to watch unfold.  But it would be far better in the long run to do the hard work and pass legislation than to allow for bigots to discriminate against gay and transgender people, and do so in a ‘legal’ fashion based on some tortured ruling from this conservative court.

And so it goes.

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