In a major win for LGBTQ civil rights, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that federal law prohibits workers disrcimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The ruling is a blow to the Trump administration, which argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bans gender-based discrimination, does not apply to gender identity or sexual orientation.
The 6-3 majority opinion, written by Neil Gorsuch, says, “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. There is simply no escaping the role intent plays here: Just as sex is necessarily a but-for cause when an employer discriminates against homosexual or transgender employees, an employer who discriminates on these grounds inescapably intends to rely on sex in its decisionmaking.”
Brett Kavanaugh, one of the dissenting judges, wrote, “Under the Constitution’s separation of powers, however, I believe that it was Congress’s role, not this Court’s, to amend Title VII. I therefore must respectfully dissent from the Court’s judgment”
According to Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst, “Today’s decision is one of the court’s most significant rulings ever with respect to the civil rights of gay and transgender individuals.”