In a piece in Gen, I write about how, ultimately, President Obama — and the work at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during his administration — paved the way for the massive and stunning Supreme Court win on LGBTQ equality, in which the court ruled that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are protected from employment discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
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The deliciousness of the ruling is that Justice Neil Gorsuch — the perhaps-until-yesterday darling of the religious extremists and a man appointed by Donald Trump — wrote the majority decision, and Chief Justice John Roberts joined him and the four liberals to slam down a 6-3 ruling.
This ruling will have far-reaching implications because it deemed that the word “sex” — a protected class under Title VII — is to be interpreted to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Legal scholars believe first and foremost it will undercut Trump’s vicious rollbacks of rights for transgender people specifically.
And its broad implications for dozens of statutes that prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, from housing to education, are clear, likely will lead to many more wins for gay and transgender people.
“We must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear,” Gorsuch wrote in words that are likely to be quoted in many cases about many areas. “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.”
But as I write in the piece in Gen, Gorsuch is actually no friend to LGBTQ rights and is a “religious liberty” crusader who will likely try to limit these very rights with odious exceptions allowing discrimination based on religious beliefs.
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