LGBTQ+ protections will be debated by the Supreme Court, the New York Times reports. The highest court in the United States will hear three cases determining whether federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against LGBTQ+ employees under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex-based discrimination but does not explicitly mention sexual orientation or gender identity.
The court will hear three separate cases, two of which deal with discrimination against gay people and one that deals with discrimination against a transgender worker. One case from New York involves a skydiving instructor who claims he was fired because he was gay. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed, concluding that "sexual orientation is motivated, at least in part, by sex and is thus a subset of sex discrimination."
At the center of the second case of anti-gay discrimination is a child welfare services coordinator who says he was fired for being gay, while a funeral home employee from Michigan, Aimee Stephens, is at the center of the third case. Stephens says she was fired from her job after telling employers she was a transgender woman and would begin coming to work in women's clothes.
"It is analytically impossible to fire an employee based on that employee's status as a transgender person without being motivated, at least in part, by the employee's sex," the United States Court of Appeals wrote in its decision, which granted Stephens a victory. "Discrimination 'because of sex' inherently includes discrimination against employees because of a change in their sex."
The decision to take these cases comes only one month after Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Equality Act to the floor of Congress. The Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of identities the Civil Rights Act protects.
Since the appointment of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court under Donald Trump, the court has taken a marked shift to the right on several issues. Unfortunately, fewer federal protections and more freedom for private corporations is a hallmark of right-wing politics in the United States.
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