Supreme Court Rules in Favor of LGBTQ Rights on the Job

Artur Widak/NurPhoto via ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Every morning I wake up hoping for some good news. And every morning I’m disappointed: Donald Trump is still debasing the country, white cops are still killing Black men, and COVID-19 is still spreading. Today, however, finally brings something new:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status….In decisions on two separate cases, the court said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person’s sex, among other factors, also covers sexual orientation and transgender status.

….They conceded that sexual orientation was not on the minds of anyone in Congress when the civil rights law was passed. But they said when an employer fires a male employee for dating men, but not a female employee who dates men, that violates the law.

How close was the decision?

Two of the court’s Republican appointees, Neil Gorsuch and John Roberts, joined the court’s Democratic appointees to deliver the surprising, 6-3 victory to LGBT advocates. Writing for the court’s majority, Gorsuch accepted arguments that the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition on sex discrimination in employment also effectively banned bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity, even though few if any members of Congress thought they were doing that at the time.

Because I can see a cloud behind every silver lining, I should mention that I have a theory about John Roberts: namely that he votes with the liberals occasionally on topics he considers unimportant so that he can join the conservatives on all the rest of the rulings. This allows him to keep his reputation as a fairminded umpire without sacrificing much.

But that’s probably just cynical of me. I’m sure he doesn’t really do that.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate