Supreme Court Rules That Civil Rights Law Protects Gay And Transgender Workers
In a 6 to 3 vote on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay and transgender workers are protected from workplace discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to The New York Times.
- Justice Neil Gorsuch, who wrote the majority opinion, “was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.”
- The case centered on “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex.”
- The question at hand was whether discrimination “because of sex” included gay and transgender employees.
Lawyers for employers and the Trump administration argued that the common understanding of sex discrimination in 1964 was bias against women or men and did not encompass discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. If Congress wanted to protect gay and transgender workers, they said, it could pass a new law.
Lawyers for the workers responded that discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation or transgender status must as a matter of logic take account of sex.
- The nation’s highest court sided with the workers.
- The Times noted that to date, “Most federal appeals courts have interpreted Title VII to exclude sexual orientation discrimination”; however, “two of them, in New York and Chicago, have ruled that discrimination against gay men and lesbians is a form of sex discrimination.”
The Supreme Court considered two sets of cases on the issue, The Times reported, the first being “a pair of lawsuits from gay men who said they were fired because of their sexual orientation” and the second “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.”