Should Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity?
For the time being, it stipulates that employers cannot discriminate against their employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion.
So far, federal courts and independent agencies within the Trump administration are being divided on the issue.
The Supreme Court will, therefore, make a verdict soon as it has accepted to hear the cases of three people from New York, Michigan, and Georgia who had complained after being dismissed for being gay or transgender people.
The cases heard will be those of:
- Donald Zarda, a deceased skydiving instructor who said he was fired in New York because he was gay. Her sister and partner are pursuing his fight.
- Gerald Bostock, a county government employee in Georgia who also got dismissed because he was gay.
- Aimee Stephens, a transgendered woman from Michigan, who was fired after her transition from the funeral home she worked for.
These are only a few cases. According to MAP, an LGBT advocacy think tank, half of LGBTQ people live in States that allow discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. They can, therefore, be the victims of unfair redundancies.
“The decisions in these cases will shape the legal landscape for LGBT people for decades to come,” said Shannon Minter, legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “A Supreme Court decision reversing these established protections would be catastrophic for LGBT people and disruptive for businesses, who would face a patchwork of conflicting state laws.”
Protecting LGBT people in employment, housing, or public accommodations at the federal level would be an important step.
But, as you know, the Supreme Court is made up of many bigots and, to be honest, it’s hard to be optimistic about the final verdict.