The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ignored partisan politics — as it always should — and used solid legal and constitutional reasoning to rule the Civil Right Act of 1964 protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment.
This 6-3 decision is a major step in assuring the LGBT community is equally protected from discrimination in this country.
Some assumed that the court, which is now dominated by justices appointed by Republican presidents, would rule with consideration of political ideology.
However, Chief Justice John Roberts, nominated by President George W. Bush, and Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s first high court nominee, joined the four justices nominated by Democrats to form the majority in this ruling.
The court made a reasonable conclusion that when the Civil Rights Act bars employment discrimination on the basis of sex, that includes bias against LGBT workers.
When the law was written more than half a century ago, gay rights were not given much consideration by society. But much has changed since then, such as gay marriage becoming legal, and it’s clear discrimination because of sexual orientation must not be tolerated.
When Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was written, society’s biggest concerns were protecting all from discrimination based on race, skin color, religion and gender.
Today, gender means far more than male or female.
“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,” Gorsuch wrote for the court. “Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
Gorsuch is spot on.
Title VII of the act focuses on equal employment opportunity. Since 1964, Congress has added legislation prohibiting discrimination in employment based on pregnancy, age and disabilities. This was simply evolving with the times.
But as Gorsuch pointed out, the act does not need to be amended to include gay, lesbian and transgender people because gender equity is included in Title VII.
Ironically, gender was added to the act in 1964 by a Virginia Democrat who strongly opposed the overall legislation, perhaps as a poison pill so it would be defeated. Instead it was wisely embraced by the majority in Congress.
Congress took a strong stand against discrimination on the basis of gender, and the Supreme Court on Monday affirmed that for all — including gay, lesbian and transgender people.