The U.S. Supreme Court unleashed a flurry of rulings on Monday, including a surprising turn from the court’s current conservative-leaning players. In a 6-3 decision (Bostock v. Clayton Country, Georgia) authored by the Trump-nominated Justice Gorsuch, the court ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act not only bars sexual discrimination in the workplace but also protects LGBTQ employees from being terminated over their sexual orientation. Gorsuch was joined in the majority ruling by Chief Justice Roberts, along with liberal Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan.
More than a mere Title VII ruling, though, this decision is a federal declaration that recognizes trans people and supports their truth for the LGBTQ community. Although it’s not a unanimous ruling from the court, it’s a resounding one. It’s also worth noting that the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s decades-long roots arrived only following Black freedom movements, which in turn are advancing freedoms for more Americans. So, it’s a timely declaration in light of current Black Lives Matter visibility, and this couldn’t be a more welcome decision during Pride Month, even against a somber U.S. backdrop (and after the Trump administration nixed transgender health protections last week).
Justice Gorsuch explained in the majority opinion why the court determined to evolve Title VII from its original legislative vision and apply it to this case:
“Likely, they weren’t thinking about many of the act’s consequences that have become apparent over the years, including its prohibition against discrimination on the basis of motherhood or its ban on the sexual harassment of male employees. But the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands.”
“It’s a victory for liberty and justice for all,” tweeted Hillary Clinton in response to the decision. “Happy Pride month.” She was joined by ecstatic Hollywood figures, including The Matrix visionary Lilly Wachowski, Queer Eye‘s Jonathan Van Ness, and Drag Race star Peppermint, along with George Takei, Mandy Moore, and more.
Being who you are shouldn’t be a fireable offense, and today the Supreme Court has affirmed that truth for the LGBTQ community under our laws.
It’s a victory for liberty and justice for all.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 15, 2020
so used to being on the losing end of this shit, had re-read that the word "transgender" was actually included. this is nice and good. but back to the fight. stop killing of black trans women! https://t.co/PhgcuODR4g
— Lilly Wachowski (@lilly_wachowski) June 15, 2020
This is astonishing and very welcome news. It’s a game changer. https://t.co/Kg2YtQAVsJ
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) June 15, 2020
Fuck yes Supreme Court 🏳️🌈😭
— Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) June 15, 2020
So Many attacks ( removals/ restrictions or revocations )on our lgbt rights ( existence) that this ruling is a major victory toward full protection. The fight continues tomorrow #wearehere #WeAreHereWeAreLGBTQ pic.twitter.com/NIguTnofho
— Peppermint (@Peppermint247) June 15, 2020
This is great news for the LGBTQ+ community. But pretty fucking wild to know that the 6-3 vote means 3 of those justices are fine to publicly, openly declare that LGBT+ employees SHOULD be allowed to be fired just because of their identities. We've still got a long ways to go. https://t.co/YsiMDFZ93g
— Benj Pasek (@benjpasek) June 15, 2020
This is just incredible news! A bright spot in a dark time. https://t.co/SVUpOIL7LC
— Mandy Moore (@TheMandyMoore) June 15, 2020
HUGE VICTORY FOR LGBTQ RIGHTS!!!
Happy Pride Everybody — the Supreme Court has decided LGBTQ people can sue for workplace bias.🏳️🌈⚖️
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) June 15, 2020
Make no mistake—a federal Equality Act is still urgently needed. The struggle for equality did not end with marriage, nor did it end today. Conversion therapy persists. Black trans women are at grave risk daily. The administration is rolling back protections at every turn.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) June 15, 2020
No one should have to live in fear of discrimination. The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold protections for LGBTQ+ workers preserves the LGBTQ+ movement’s hard-won progress—but we must keep up the pressure to ensure every LGBTQ+ person is free to be who they are without fear.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 15, 2020