In a historic ruling for LGBT+ rights, the U.S. Supreme Court protects LGBT+ workers from job discrimination making it illegal for employers to fire people because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
The court ruled that employers who fire individuals “merely for being gay or transgender” violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination on the basis of sex and other characteristics — but not specifically gender identity or sexual orientation.
“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex,” wrote Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s first appointee to the high court, who authored the majority opinion. “Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
President Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, hailed the “historic” decision stating “No one should be denied a job or fired simply because of who they are or whom they love,” although he said more work remains to be done.
As ‘Iowa Capital Dispatch’ reports, Justices heard cases last year involving plaintiffs who argued they were wrongfully fired because of their gender orientation and sexual identity.
Aimee Stephens, a trans woman from Michigan, was fired after she informed her boss she planned to transition from male to female. Gerald Bostock of Georgia and Donald Zarda of New York were fired after their employers learned of their sexual orientation.
Gerald Bostock of Georgia, who was working as a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children in Clayton County, lost his job after joining a gay recreational softball league seven years ago.
“I lost a dream job that I had, I lost my income and I lost my medical insurance at a time that I was recovering from prostate cancer,” Bostock said during a livestreamed press conference after the ruling was announced.
“But I learned early on with this that it’s always been about so much more. It’s such a bigger issue than just my own personal experiences,” he said.
At a time of civil unrest nationally, Bostock said he hopes people see the ruling as a “step in the right direction for our country.”
“There is absolutely no room in this world for discrimination or racism,” Bostock said, “And I hope this celebration — that we’re all sharing in today — that it sheds a little bit of light in the dark days that we’ve had across this country in the past few weeks.”
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