On Jun 15, 2020, the Supreme Cout ruled that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. This is a major victory for the LGBTQ community. This is surprising because the ruling came from an increasingly conservative court.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against people who are of a certain sex, sexual orientation, and other factors.
Currently, 21 states have their own laws that prohibit job discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Seven other states proved that protection to public employees only. These laws will remain in force, however, the Supreme Court ruling protects members of the LGBTQ community in the rest of the nation.
Nearly every LGBTQ adult needs a job. This win was bigger and more important than the win for the right to marry.
The Supreme Court conceded that sexual orientation was not on the minds of those who were in Congress when the civil rights law was passed. The Supreme Court stated that when a man is fired for dating men, but the female employee who dates men is not fired, that violates the law.
Gerald Bostock was fired from his country job in Georgia after joining a gay softball team.
Donald Zarda was fired from his job as a skydiving instructor after telling a female client “not to worry about being strapped tightly to him during a jump, because he was ‘100% gay.'” Unfortunately, Zarda died before the Supreme Court reached its ruling.
The Justice Department stated, “The ordinary meaning of ‘sex’ is biologically male or female; it does not include sexual orientation. An employer who discriminates against employees in same-sex relationships thus does not violate Title VII as long as it treats men in same-sex relationships the same as women in same-sex relationships.”
By Jeanette Vietti
NBC: Supreme Court rules existing civil rights law protects gay and lesbian workers
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