Supreme Court rules gay, trans employees protected by Civil Rights Act; Gorsuch, Roberts join liberals for 6-3 decision

by Adam Ford · Jun 15th, 2020 10:46 am
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Last Updated Jun 15th, 2020 at 11:16 am

The Supreme Court delivered a huge win for the LGBT movement Monday, ruling that Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act — which bars people from being fired on the basis of sex — should be read to include sexual orientation and gender identity as well.

Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion; he and Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal members of the court to deliver the 6-3 decision.

"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," Gorsuch wrote.

For the ruling the Supreme Court considered three related cases:

  • One came from New York, where a skydiver alleged he was fired in 2010 because he was gay.
  • A second came from Georgia, where a man claimed he was fired from his job as child-welfare services coordinator for the juvenile court system because he was gay.
  • A third case came from Detroit, Michigan, where a transgender worker alleged he was fired after beginning to identify as a female and refusing to continue presenting as a man — his biological sex — at work.

The Trump administration has argued that the Civil Rights Act should not cover LGBT workers.

President Trump nominated Gorsuch to the Supreme Court in early 2017.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh dissented from the ruling. Alito slammed the decision in his dissent, saying, "A more brazen abuse of our authority to interpret statutes is hard to recall."


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