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Supreme Court Starts Week With Massive Win For LGBT Community

June 15, 2020

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As of just a few minutes ago, (as of this posting) it was possible to get married on Sunday and legally fired on Monday, but no more.  In a sweeping 6-3 Supreme Court decision it ruled that federal employment discrimination laws protect LGBT employees. This is a huge decision and a progressive one.  With the victory coming from a conservative court during Pride Month is nothing short of the cake and frosting, too, all being delivered to the nation first thing this Monday morning!

Let cut to the core as to why this matters, and is such a stunning legal victory. Theere is an estimated 8.1 million LGBT workers across the country because most states don’t protect them from workplace discrimination.  This is why is matters to always place the Supreme Court as a topic for election year conversations.  The lives of every-day Americans are always at stake with court actions.

The vote was 6 to 3, with Justice Neil M. Gorsuch writing the majority opinion. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The case concerned Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex. The question for the justices was whether that last prohibition — discrimination “because of sex”— applies to many millions of gay and transgender workers.

The court considered two sets of cases. The first concerned a pair of lawsuits from gay men who said they were fired because of their sexual orientation. The second was about a suit from a transgender woman, Aimee Stephens, who said her employer fired her when she announced that she would embrace her gender identity at work.

The first case was filed by Gerald Bostock, a gay man who was fired from a government program that helped neglected and abused children in Clayton County, Ga., just south of Atlanta, after he joined a gay softball league.

The second was brought by a skydiving instructor, Donald Zarda, who also said he was fired because he was gay. His dismissal followed a complaint from a female customer who had expressed concerns about being strapped to Mr. Zarda during a tandem dive. Mr. Zarda, hoping to reassure the customer, told her that he was “100 percent gay.”

The cases concerning gay rights are Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., No. 17-1618, and Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, No. 17-1623.

Most federal appeals courts have interpreted Title VII to exclude sexual orientation discrimination. But two of them, in New York and Chicago, have ruled that discrimination against gay men and lesbians is a form of sex discrimination.

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