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The Supreme Court Is Debating if LGBTQ People Can Be Fired for Being LGBTQ – Here’s What It Looks Like Outside



Starting at 10 AM Tuesday the Supreme Court was scheduled to begin listening to oral arguments in three landmark cases that will form the foundation of a decision determining if LGBTQ people can be fired merely for being LGBTQ. The ruling, which likely will not be handed down until June of 2020, will have far reaching implications for many Americans, whether or not they are LGBTQ.

In short, the court is expected to decide if Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination on the basis of sex, applies to people who are, identify as, or even are perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender. Two combined cases center on workplace discrimination against people who are gay. One case centers on workplace discrimination against people who are transgender.

This chart simply explains if the court will decide the law agrees with this most basic and obvious argument:

As usual, there are no photos or recordings allowed inside the Court, and the Court will not even release audio of the oral arguments today.

But we can take a look at what’s going on outside the court – and it’s major. There are no official crowd estimates but it sure looks like there are thousands of LGBTQ people, allies, and supporters who showed up.

Among them, Aimee Stephens, the transgender woman at the center of one of today’s SCOTUS cases, Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, who got some support this morning from Laverne Cox.

The Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson is inside the court, but posted this photo this morning:

This appears to be a live feed from outside the court:


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Conservative Justice Gorsuch’s Remark During Supreme Court Arguments May Give LGBTQ Activists and Allies Hope



There is little news coming out of Tuesday morning’s Supreme Court oral arguments in three cases that will determine if LGBTQ people have equal rights or can be fired merely for being LGBTQ. But a surprise remark is giving some LGBTQ people a drop of hope. Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch has at the very least given the appearance he just might understand that anti-gay discrimination is sex discrimination.

“First half of Scotus LGBT job-bias case suggests that gay-rights advocates have a least a chance of winning over Gorsuch (+ the four liberals),” tweets Bloomberg News Supreme Court reporter Greg Stohr. He sums up Gorsuch’s seemingly positive remark in this tweet:

At issue right now is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and if its stated ban on sex discrimination includes lesbian, gay, and bisexual people (the second hour of oral arguments focus on transgender workers’ rights).

But Gorsuch’s remark is deeper than what it says at face value.

Related: The Supreme Court Is Debating if LGBTQ People Can Be Fired for Being LGBTQ – Here’s What It Looks Like Outside

Southern Methodist University Law School Professor Grant Hayden, who focuses on employment law, explains that it’s not an all-or-nothing issue. And he says if Gorsuch believes what he reportedly said, “that should be the ballgame” – presumably, a win for gay rights.

Hayden says his legal view is that sexual orientation and transgender discrimination “is necessarily sex discrimination in violation of Title VII.”

Of course, no one know what will happen until the decision is handed down, presumably in June of 2020, but a glimmer of hope is better than none at all.

UPDATE: 12:59 PM ET –
MSNBC’s Pete Williams concurs that Gorsuch’s remarks may be the “best hope” for LGBTQ people.


Image via Wikimedia

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