Supreme Court Finds Firing Employees for Being Gay or Transgender Illegal

Matthew Vadum
By Matthew Vadum
June 15, 2020US News
Supreme Court Finds Firing Employees for Being Gay or Transgender Illegal
The Supreme Court in Washington on June 15, 2020. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

In a dramatic departure from current law, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 this morning that employees cannot be fired from their jobs because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The landmark ruling is the court’s latest journey into the culturally contentious realm of sex and sex roles.

Previously, the court ruled 5-4 in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples under the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Before that, in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the court made same-sex sexual activity lawful throughout the United States in a 6-3 ruling.

In the June 15 opinion, two conservative members of the court, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, joined the four liberals voting to expand the meaning of the word “sex” in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Justice Samuel Alito wrote a dissenting opinion that Justice Clarence Thomas joined. Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote his own dissenting opinion.

Title VII of that federal statute from the Civil Rights Era prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, but it doesn’t actually mention sexual orientation, preference, or identity.

Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion for the court.

In it he acknowledged that “Title VII’s effects have unfolded with far-reaching consequences, some likely beyond what many in Congress or elsewhere expected.”

“Ours is a society of written laws,” the justice continued.

“Judges are not free to overlook plain statutory commands on the strength of nothing more than suppositions about intentions or guesswork about expectations. In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee. We do not hesitate to recognize today a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.”

The justices did not take the bench for the announcement because of the court’s continuing precautions against the CCP virus that causes the disease COVID-19.

The opinion issued by the court covered two cases involving homosexual employees–Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, and Altitude Express v. Zarda—as well as G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Gerald Bostock, who worked as a child welfare services coordinator, claimed the county fired him on a false pretext after discovering he was gay. In the second case, Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor in New York, claimed he was fired from his job for being gay. Zarda died during the course of the litigation, but his estate continued the appeal.

The third case involved former funeral home employee Aimee Stephens, who was born male and was formerly known as William Anthony Beasley Stephens. The EEOC sued on Stephens’s behalf and later prevailed in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Stephens died last month but the case was allowed to proceed.

From The Epoch Times

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