Supreme Court Rules LGBTQ Employees Are Protected By Federal Civil Rights Laws

For Immediate Release

June 15, 2020

Supreme Court Rules LGBTQ Employees Are Protected By Federal Civil Rights Laws

Today the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, ruling that employers cannot fire employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. Writing for the 6-3 majority opinion of the Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote “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.” He went on to say, “Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

“We appreciate that the United States Supreme Court has taken strong action to clarify that firing someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is discriminatory and unconstitutional,” said Matt Moonen, Executive Director of EqualityMaine. “This decision means that LGBT workers across the country can rest assured that their employment will be based on their qualifications, and not on biases about who they are.”

In 2005 Maine voters upheld the law, passed by the legislature and signed by then-governor John Baldacci, which prohibited discrimination in employment, housing, education, credit, and public accommodations on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. Extremists like Michael Heath and the Christian Civic League have made multiple attempts to undermine and weaken that law, but have repeatedly failed. 

“This decision is significant, but it applies to employment only. Unfortunately, under federal law discrimination remains legal in areas such as housing, education, and public accommodations,” said Moonen. “Just last Friday, the Trump administration approved a rule removing health care protections for transgender people. So while this decision is a step in the right direction, we need leaders who will work to end discrimination at every level, not enable it.” 

Founded in 1984, EqualityMaine is dedicated to achieving full equality under the law for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Mainers, and currently has more than 70,000 members statewide.

© 2020 EqualityMaine

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