In three cases, the Supreme Court will rule on whether gay and trans people can be fired for their LGBTQ status — and we’ll learn just how conservative the Trump Supreme Court really is.
In potentially troubling news out of Washington, the Supreme Court announced Monday that they will review three cases that concern the LGBTQ community’s inclusion under the employment protections in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Specifically, two of the cases the highest court in the land will take up concern whether the Civil Rights Act, which specifically protects against discrimination by “sex,” also applies to sexual orientation. The two cases they will hear on this subject went opposite ways at the lower court level. In Altitude Express v. Zarda, the 2nd Circuit Court found in favor of a man who was fired for being gay, while in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, the 11th Circuit Court found in favor of Clayton County’s child welfare services program, which had fired an employee for being gay.
The Supreme Court will hear a third case, RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in which a trans woman was fired from a Michigan funeral home after she came out to her employers and said she’d begin wearing women’s clothing at work. The question being considered by the Supreme Court here is whether the woman’s firing falls under sex discrimination due to her being fired for not conforming to gender stereotypes.
These cases are the first big cases related to LGBTQ rights for the Supreme Court to consider since Donald Trump appointed two conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch and the infamous Brett Kavanaugh, to the court. Rulings will tell us a good deal about what direction the Supreme Court will take in future years, and how safe LGBTQ rights are under the Court’s Trump-shaped makeup.
The cases should be argued in the fall, and we will likely hear a ruling by summer of 2020 — just in time for the presidential campaign to reach full boil. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed.
Photo: Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States, Public Domain/via Wikimedia