Politics

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The Supreme Court made a landmark ruling on monday, deciding by a 6-3 vote that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act also encompasses protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity

PHOTO CREDITS: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES 

The newly-Conservative dominated Supreme Court of the United States made a landmark ruling on June 15th, deciding by a 6-3 vote that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act – which protects workers from discriminiation based on gender – also encompasses protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The decision was authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed to the court by President Trump in April of 2017. Gorsuch wrote in the majority decision that “Sex plays a necessary and undisguiseable role in the decision [to fire an employee], exactly what Title VII forbids.” On the minority side of the decision were Justices Kavanaugh, Alito, and Thomas. In a dissent, Justice Alito wrote that he believed that the court was acting too much like a legislature and not like the supreme court – which he says serves the purpose of upholding the constitution as it stands – not arrogating congress’s role in amending it. ~

This decision emcompasses three individual’s cases involving two gay men and a transgedner woman who sued for employment discriminiation after they lost their jobs due to their sexual orientation and gender identity. The spouse of one of the plaintiffs stated that she is “grateful for this victory… to ensure people are treated fairly” (Associated Press). While Justice Kavanaguh agreed in his dissent that this ruling was an “important victory achieved today by gay and lesbian Americans,”, the Justices on the minority made their concerns clear about the effects of this decision on future cases related to bathroom and lockeroom access, university housing, and sports. Justice Gorsuch countered this distress by pointing out that none of these cases are before the court yet, and that the court will not “prejudge any such questions today.” ~

The director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT and HIV Project, James Esseks, is delighted with the “sweeping and wonderful,” decision made by the court, but explained that it does not provide all protections under federal law that LGBTQ+ individuals are seeking (Bloomberg). It is likely that there are more cases to come dealing with the rights of the LGBTQ+ community for the supreme court. ~

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