From the Wire: Center Celebrates U.S. Supreme Court Landmark Decision to Protect LGBT Employees


In response to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision today in three employment discrimination cases that employees cannot be fired because of sexual orientation and gender identity, the Los Angeles LGBT Center issued the following statement:

“Today, the Supreme Court stood for the rights of LGBT people, affirming that we have the right to be protected from employment discrimination under federal law.

“The Court’s 6-to-3 decision in favor of nondiscrimination indicates a significant shift towards permanent acceptance of LGBT rights. In its opinion, the Court found that ‘an employer who discriminates against homosexual or transgender employees necessarily and intentionally applies sex-based rules,’ which are in violation of the protections of Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964.

“To those who argue the Civil Rights Act of 1964 could not have foreseen questions of sexual orientation and gender identity, it is now decided that ‘the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands.

“Although today’s decision is a historic victory, it comes as we still fight for true equality and justice on many fronts. We know that one court decision alone is not enough: legal equality in certain areas does not mean that you are equal in today’s America.

“Black LGBT people still face deadly intolerance and discrimination at the intersection of their identities, reminding us that none of us are free until all of us are treated equally under the law and by society. Just last week two more Black transgender women, Riah Milton and Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, were murdered, as was Rayshard Brooks, another unarmed Black man killed by the police this weekend in Atlanta.

“There are still far too many intentional gaps in federal law that allow for LGBT people to be discriminated against in federally-funded programs, including hospitals, colleges, adoption agencies, and public accommodations like hotels and restaurants.

“And the decision also stands in stark contrast to the Trump Administration’s actions. Just last week, the Department of Health and Human Services instituted a rule that seeks to roll back anti-discrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act for LGBTQ people in the midst of a public health crisis.

“We call on Congress to use today’s decision to align with the Court and the overwhelming majority of Americans and pass the Equality Act to ensure full federal non-discrimination protections for all LGBTQ people.”

The Bostock v. Clayton County decision opinion combined three cases before the Court: Bostock as well as Altitude Express, Inc. et al v. Zarda et al., and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It was a 6-to-3 decision, with Justice Gorsuch writing the opinion, joined by Justices Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justices Alito, Thomas, and Kavanaugh dissented.

Each of the three cases involved an employer firing a long-time employee shortly after the employee revealed that they were LGBT.

From the opinion: “Because discrimination on the basis of homosexuality or transgender status requires an employer to intentionally treat individual employees differently because of their sex, an employer who intentionally penalizes an employee for being homosexual or transgender also violates Title VII.”

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