In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States delivered a victory for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees granting them legal protection from workplace discrimination nationwide. The Supreme Court ruled that the LQBTQ community was protected under the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The law bars discrimination in the workplace based on “sex.”
“Ours is a society of written laws. Judges are not free to overlook plain statutory commands on the strength of nothing more than suppositions about intentions or guesswork about expectations,” Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote. “In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee. We do not hesitate to recognize today a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.”
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was joined by Justices Gorsuch, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in ruling to extend the civil rights law to extend to LGBTQ employees.
Many human rights activists called the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock vs. Clayton County a landmark victory for LGBTQ employees. While some states such as California already had protections in place against workplace discrimination of LGBTQ employees, many other states lacked such protections leaving the rest of the LGBTQ community in other states unprotected before the higher court’s ruling.
“The Supreme Court now has upheld the most basic value of equality, a human right that every one of us deserves,” Tarah Demant, director of the Gender, Sexuality, and Identity Program at Amnesty International USA said. “We celebrate the court decision that recognizes that non-discrimination in the workplace applies to everyone, no matter their sex, sexuality, or gender identity—and we celebrate with LGBTQI people who have long waited for equal recognition under the law.”
After the House passed the Equality Act last year to protect LGBTQ employees from workplace discrimination and the Senate refused to vote on the measure, the Supreme Court made it the law of the land on Monday.
“No one should be afraid to be who they are in order to work or live their lives,” Demant said. “LGBTQI people have a right to the same protections as everyone else, and they deserve to be able to live their lives without fear of discrimination—something the Supreme Court has affirmed today.”