The Supreme Court delivered a resounding victory to the nation’s LGBTQ community on Monday, with Justice Neil Gorsuch declaring that it is “clear” that gay and transgender employees are protected by federal anti-discrimination laws.
“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,” he stated.
“Those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result,” he continued. “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.”
The court’s 6-3 ruling, which saw conservative justices Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts join the four liberal justices in the majority, radiated celebratory cries from LGBTQ and civil rights activists.
“There are truly no words to describe just how elated I am,” Gerald Bostock, whose firing for joining a gay recreational softball team was one of the cases considered by the court, said in a statement Monday.
“When I was fired seven years ago, I was devastated. But this fight became about so much more than me. I am sincerely grateful to the Supreme Court, my attorneys, advocacy organizations like GLAAD, and every person who supported me on this journey,” Bostock said.
“Today, we can go to work without the fear of being fired for who we are and who we love. Yet, there is more work to be done. Discrimination has no place in this world, and I will not rest until we have equal rights for all.”
The American Civil Liberties Union also heralded Monday’s “landmark victory” as “the work of decades of LGBTQ people — led by Black trans women — fighting for our community.” The ACLU credited Bostock as well as its clients Aimee Stephens and Don Zarda, whose discrimination cases were also considered in the court’s ruling, for speaking out when they experienced discrimination.
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