This Supreme Court Case is one of the Biggest in LGBTQ+ Legal History

In the United States of America, an employer can legally fire someone simply because they are gay, or transgender, or non-binary. On October 8th, 2019, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for three cases involving discrimination against LGBTQ employees. A trial court found that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin, did not cover sexual orientation. 

Laverne Cox used her time on the 2019 Emmys red carpet Sunday to inform viewers about an upcoming Supreme Court case that could make it legal to fire someone from their job for being LGBTQ. The “Orange Is the New Black” alum brought ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio as her guest to TV’s biggest night. 

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In what’s being called one of the highest-profile issues of SCOTUS next term — and “one of the biggest days in LGBTQ legal history,” according to Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project and a nationally recognized expert on transgender rights — the conservative-leaning bench will decide if Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids discrimination on the basis of sex, also includes discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

“Everyone should be aware that the administration is asking the Supreme Court to make it legal to fire workers just because they’re LGBTQ,” Strangio said. “And this is actually going to transform the lives of LGBTQ people, and people who are not LGBTQ. Anyone who departs from sex stereotypes, like all the fabulous people here, for example. So we really need to show up on October 8 and pay attention because our lives are on the line.”

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I find it frightening that I could be fired if an employer discovered I am LGBTQ+. North Carolina is an “at-will employment” state, which means that an employee can be dismissed by an employer for any reason. This would make it even easier for an employer to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in at-will states. 

Hopefully, the Supreme Court will make the right decision and guarantee the rights of LGBTQ+ in the workplace.