Supreme Court Extends Federal Workplace Protections To All LGBTQ Employees

The United States Supreme Court ruled on Monday morning that all workplace protections must apply to LGBTQ employees, according to David G. Savage of The Los Angeles Times. The ruling means the Civil Rights Act of 1964 grants lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers the same protections against not being hired or being fired as minorities, the handicapped, religious, and elderly have had for decades.

The justices ruled the act's ban on discriminating based on sex included forbidding bias against someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The court handed down a 6-3 decision with Justice Neil Gorsuch — a Trump appointee — writing the opinion for the majority.

"Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. 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 undistinguishable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids."
Gorsuch added that those who wrote the Civil Rights Act likely didn't anticipate this would be the end result. He also said they likely weren't thinking about many of the consequences of the act since its implementation. Gorsuch then wrote it didn't matter whether the authors of the act thought this would be the outcome.

"The limits of the drafters' imagination supply no reason to ignore the law's demands," he wrote. "When the express terms of a statute give us one answer and extratextual considerations suggest another, it's no contest. Only the written word is the law, and all persons are entitled to its benefit."

Savage said he believed it was a rather remarkable opinion considering a conservative justice was echoing what was seen as a very liberal law. Gorsuch believes the law was never meant to protect gay and lesbian employees, but the statute protects them nonetheless.

Gorsuch wasn't the only conservative justice to have that reading on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 6-3 ruling also saw Chief Justice John Roberts side with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Gorsuch.

The court's other Trump appointee, Brett Kavanaugh, sided with Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito on the dissent. The Supreme Court's ruling came just an hour after it ruled it would not hear a case that had to do with police brutality.

Reuters reported on Monday the justices would not hear a case seeking to limit the "qualified immunity" of police officers when it came to civil lawsuits.