Supreme Court Rules That Gay and Transgender Workers Protected Under Civil Rights Act

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that gay and transgender workers are protected from employer discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, joined the court’s four liberal justices in the 6-3 decision.

"Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender," Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion. "The answer is clear. 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. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids."

"It doesn't matter if other factors besides the plaintiff 's sex contributed to the decision. And it doesn't matter if the employer treated women as a group the same when compared to men as a group," the opinion said. "If the employer intentionally relies in part on an individual employee's sex when deciding to discharge the employee — put differently, if changing the employee's sex would have yielded a different choice by the employer — a statutory violation has occurred."

3 conservatives vote against:

Conservative Justice Samuel Alito, also writing on behalf of Clarence Thomas, argued that the court was writing legislation instead of ruling on cases.

"The question in these cases is not whether discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity should be outlawed," Alito said. "The question is whether Congress did that in 1964. It indisputably did not."

"We are judges, not members of Congress,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in a separate dissent. "Instead of a hard-earned victory won through the democratic process, today’s victory is brought about by judicial dictate – judges latching on to a novel form of living literalism to rewrite ordinary meaning and remake American law. Under the Constitution and laws of the United States, this court is the wrong body to change American law in that way."

Trump says he accepts decision:

The Trump administration fought against the ruling but President Trump said he would accept the decision on Monday.

"I’ve read the decision, and some people were surprised," Trump said. "But they’ve ruled and we live with their decision. That’s what it’s all about. We live with the decision of the Supreme Court. Very powerful. Very powerful decision actually. But they have so ruled."

But Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway echoed the dissenting judges in her comments.

“The legislature makes the laws, the President executes the laws and judiciary interprets the laws — and that is important also,” Conway said. “I think that Justice Alito made clear that he doesn’t think this is about textualism. We’ve had the Civil Rights Act for 56 years and everybody has understood what it meant.”

“I think it’s very important though to stick to a statute or a law as it is written when that is before the United States Supreme Court,” Conway said. “If people want to change the law they should go to the Congress.”


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