On Monday, June 15, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, based on multiple cases around LGBTQ protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that companies don’t have the right to discriminate against LGBTQ people in the workplace. This historic decision says that LGBTQ people are, and should be, protected from discrimination under federal sex discrimination law. This is a landmark moment for LGBTQ legal equality.
In the midst of the COVID-19 health crisis and vitally important nationwide demonstrations in support of black and transgender lives against systemic racism and transphobia, today’s decision is heartening and encouraging.
However, our work is not finished. Our nation has much to do to dismantle both legal and cultural systems of racism. The legal rights of all LGBTQ people will not be secure until we end the systemic ways in which racism is used to oppress Black people and other people of color. Given the experiences of Black LGBTQ people, and Black transgender people in particular being targeted for violence, including by police, we must end work to address systemic racism to dismantle systems that harm our community.
Additionally, there are still critical gaps in federal non-discrimination laws for LGBTQ people, despite this ruling. This decision does not address access to public accommodations, sports, or restrooms and similar facilities, nor does it address the question of religious exemptions. Critically, in light of Friday’s announcement by the federal Department of Health and Human Services that it was rescinding transgender healthcare protections under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, the decision also does not address discrimination in access to healthcare or health insurance.
FreeState Justice will continue to support federal protections and advocate for LGBTQ protections in Maryland to ensure that all people, including those who are LGBTQ, have an opportunity to thrive and provide for themselves and their families. Today’s decision is an important step forward. It is also a powerful reminder of how much work is left to do and how critical that work remains.