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You can’t fire me because I’m gay!

At last, employment discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is illegal in the U.S.

Finally, some good news! On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Bostock v. Clayton County

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the four members of the court’s liberal bloc in the decision in Bostock v. Clayton County and two other cases. The ruling found that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employment discrimination based on sex, applies equally to sexual orientation and gender identity. Before the Bostock decision, only nineteen states had comprehensive laws protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to Lambda Legal.

From the vantage point of this pandemic gay pride season, it is too early to say how consistently the law will be applied. But Bostock v. Clayton County is clearly a historic ruling on a plane with Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges, two earlier Supreme Court cases. Lawrence (2003) invalidated laws “prohibiting private homosexual activity between consenting adults,” while Obergefell legalized same-sex marriage in all fifty states.

Photograph: Protestors outside the Supreme Court on October 8, 2019, the day Bostock was argued; CC BY-SA 2.0 Ted Eytan

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