On Monday, 15 June 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination, applies to cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
In a landmark ruling, decided by a 6-3 vote, the court ruled overwhelmingly that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a form of sex discrimination and therefore prohibited by the Civil Rights Act. This is a critical case for the USA, where more than half the states do not have explicit protection against discrimination for LGBT+ people. The US Supreme court has ruled on many decisive cases for the LGBT+ community in the US including of course legalising same-sex marriage in all 50 states in 2015.
The ruling comes at a time when the Trump administration has rolled back numerous advances in the protection of particularly trans people, including the Department of Health removing protection from discrimination for trans people in healthcare on Friday, 12 June 2020. The Justice Department argued that Title VII doesn’t cover discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Executive Director of OutRight Action International, Jessica Stern comments:
“This is an absolutely despicable move by the Trump Administration. Erasing protection from discrimination in healthcare for trans people during Pride month, when the spotlight shines on equality for LGBTIQ people, cannot be a coincidence. It is a direct attack on the basic rights of trans people, marks a step backwards for gender justice, and stands in stark contrast to international human rights standards. Countries as diverse as Pakistan, Uruguay and Portugal have taken strides in recognizing trans identities and codifying protections against discrimination in law in recent years. OutRight unequivocally condemns this callous move. Trans rights are human rights. There can be no debate about it.”
On the Supreme Court ruling, Jessica Stern from OutRight Action International comments:
“The Supreme Court stating explicitly that under the Civil Rights Act discrimination based on sex includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a tremendous victory. The decision comes at a time when the Trump administration has been viciously attacking the rights of LGBTIQ people, in particular trans people. It will protect millions of Americans from discrimination in the workplace, and sends a powerful message – that political power-play can not erase basic human rights. This judgment will have implications for LGBTIQ people everywhere – governments and movements are inspired by each other, and landmark judgments are quoted by courts across the world. OutRight welcomes, and celebrates this ruling!”
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