Supreme Court Rules in Favor of LGBTQ Rights on the Job

Artur Widak/NurPhoto via ZUMA

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Every morning I wake up hoping for some good news. And every morning I’m disappointed: Donald Trump is still debasing the country, white cops are still killing Black men, and COVID-19 is still spreading. Today, however, finally brings something new:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status….In decisions on two separate cases, the court said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person’s sex, among other factors, also covers sexual orientation and transgender status.

….They conceded that sexual orientation was not on the minds of anyone in Congress when the civil rights law was passed. But they said when an employer fires a male employee for dating men, but not a female employee who dates men, that violates the law.

How close was the decision?

Two of the court’s Republican appointees, Neil Gorsuch and John Roberts, joined the court’s Democratic appointees to deliver the surprising, 6-3 victory to LGBT advocates. Writing for the court’s majority, Gorsuch accepted arguments that the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition on sex discrimination in employment also effectively banned bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity, even though few if any members of Congress thought they were doing that at the time.

Because I can see a cloud behind every silver lining, I should mention that I have a theory about John Roberts: namely that he votes with the liberals occasionally on topics he considers unimportant so that he can join the conservatives on all the rest of the rulings. This allows him to keep his reputation as a fairminded umpire without sacrificing much.

But that’s probably just cynical of me. I’m sure he doesn’t really do that.

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