On October 8, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States of America will begin hearing arguments in a case which will determine whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion, applies to cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The question in front of the justices is whether discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a form of sex discrimination and therefore prohibited by the Civil Rights Act. This is a landmark case for the USA, where more than half the states (26 in total) do not have explicit protection against discrimination for LGBTIQ people. It marks the first time the Supreme Court will hear a civil rights case concerning the rights of trans people, and comes at a time when the Trump administration has rolled back numerous advances in the protection of particularly trans people made under the Obama Administration. In relation to this case, the Justice Department under the Trump administration has stated that Title VII doesn’t cover discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight International comments, “LGBTIQ people face discrimination on a day to day basis, including in the workplace. Hopefully the Supreme Court will confirm this basic protection for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, across the US. But the decision - positive or negative - will have reverberations beyond US borders. Governments and movements are inspired by each other, and landmark judgments are quoted by courts across the world. The decision the Supreme Court makes in this case will have implications for LGBTIQ people everywhere.”