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Supreme Court Rules Federal Law Protecting LGBTQ Workers

By kmvq on June 15, 2020
SAN FRANCISCO – JUNE 17: Bob Sodervick waves a gay pride flag outside of San Francisco City Hall June 17, 2008 in San Francisco, California. Same-sex couples throughout California are rushing to get married as counties begin issuing marriage license after a State Supreme Court ruling to allow same-sex marriage. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In a stunning move Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employees who identify as LGBTQ cannot be fired or discriminated against, based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee. We do not hesitate to recognize today a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law”, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote.

Citing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws discrimination because of sex, Gorsuch wrote for the court’s 6-3 majority that those who “adopted” the law “might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result. Likely, they weren’t thinking about many of the act’s consequences that have become apparent over the years, including its prohibition against discrimination on the basis of motherhood or its ban on the sexual harassment of male employees. But the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands.” He also added, “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. Sex plays a necessary and undistinguishable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

Gorsuch and another conservative, John Roberts, joined their more liberal colleagues in affirming the decision. The three justices who dissented include Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh.