Supreme Court Rules LGBTQ+ Workers Cannot Be Fired For Being Gay Or Trans
The US Supreme Court has ruled that employees cannot be fired for being gay or transgender.
The historic ruling certifies that current federal law prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. This strengthens the position of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which also bars prejudice on the basis of race, colour, national origin and religion.
Led by conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, the 6-3 ruling makes it unlawful for an employer to ‘discriminate against any individual’ due to their sex. ‘An employer who discriminates against homosexual or transgender employees necessarily and intentionally applies sex-based rules,’ the court heard.
Check out the ABC News special report regarding the ruling below:
It’s a landmark victory for the LGBTQ+ community – Movement Advancement Project, a US think tank, estimates more than half of America’s states have little in the way of workplace protections for gay or transgender people. ABC News‘ Terry Moran said: ‘It is hard to overstate the significance of this – especially since it is really a broadly based opinion.’
Gorsuch wrote, as per Axios:
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 undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.
Vandy Beth Glenn, who was fired from her job in the Georgia state legislature when she came out as trans, told Reuters the ruling will ‘mean that no one else will have to suffer through the financial hardship or emotional devastation or the humiliation or any of the things that I felt’.
In 2019, the Trump administration had filed a brief with the Supreme Court outlining that LGBTQ+ discrimination shouldn’t be unlawful because men and women ‘would be similarly situated – and they would be treated the same’.
Today’s ruling comes after the president rolled back Obamacare healthcare legislation protecting transgender people from discrimination, coinciding with the four-year anniversary of the Orlando nightclub shooting at Pulse, a gay club in which 49 people were killed and a further 53 injured.
Medical providers and insurance companies now have free reign to refuse services to trans people, as the US Department of Health and Human Service has reversed the view of sex discrimination to ‘male or female and as determined by biology’.
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, the deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, pointed out that ‘it’s horrendous to not only gut nondiscrimination protections, but to gut nondiscrimination protections in the middle of a pandemic. This rule opens a door for a medical provider to turn someone away for a COVID-19 test just because they happen to be transgender.’
The administration’s move drew the ire of critics from LGBTQ+ groups and beyond – upon seeing the news, Ariana Grande shared a headline to Instagram, simply writing: ‘Disgusting.’
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