Senate Democrats Support LGBTQ+ Workers in Landmark Supreme Court Cases
Today, the Supreme Court will begin oral arguments for three landmark employment discrimination cases that will decide whether or not it is legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Although there is growing legal consensus that our nation’s existing civil rights laws protect LGBTQ+ people against discrimination, the Supreme Court must clarify this area of the law in order to ensure legal protections for all Americans.
Harris v. Stephens, Altitude Express Inc. v Zarda, and Bosock v. Clayton County involve cases of individual workers being fired due to their sexual orientation and gender identity. In Bostock and Zarda, plaintiffs Donald Zarda and Gerald Bostock both allege they were fired due to their sexual orientation as gay men. In Stephens, plaintiff Aimee Stephens was fired from her job at Harris Funeral Company because of her identity as a transgender woman. Stephens will be the first case regarding transgender civil rights ever taken up by the Supreme Court.
All three cases will determine whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s ban of discrimination on the basis of “sex” includes a prohibition on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The stakes could not be higher. If the Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs in these cases, employment non-discrimination rights for LGBTQ+ workers will be affirmed for years to come. In June 2015, the Court declared marriage equality the law of the land in Obergefell v. Hodges. Now, the Court has the opportunity to more fully engrain equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community.
Senate Democrats believe that all Americans should have the freedom to work in an environment free from discrimination. The Supreme Court must uphold this principle and ensure protections for LGBTQ+ people. Lives across this country depend on it.