MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/CBS News) — In a 6-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday morning that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to discriminations against LGBTQ employees, with Justices Roberts and Gorsuch siding with the majority opinion.
The court’s 6-3 ruling extends the scope of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion, to include LGBTQ people.
It is viewed as a major victory in the fight for civil rights for the LGBTQ community.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar called the ruling “a monumental step in the march towards LGBTQ+ equality, but added that legislators must now work to also pass the Equality Act.
“No one should ever face discrimination based on who they are. Today’s Supreme Court decision is a huge victory in the long battle for equality, but not the end,” Klobuchar said. “We still must pass the Equality Act and I will keep fighting for the LGBTQ community.”
Sen. Tina Smith agreed, adding “no one should be discriminated against, or fired, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
OutFront Minnesota called the decision “heartening and encouraging, but our work is far from finished. Violence against the trans community — and especially Black trans women — is an epidemic and it must be stopped. Our nation has much to do to dismantle both legal and cultural systems of racism. While LGBTQ+ people now have legal protection from discrimination at work, we still have a long way to go to ensure that “We the People” actually includes every person in this country.”
OutFront Minnesota also called for legislation from the U.S. Congress to address LGBTQ discrimination, calling out specifically the Trump administration’s decision, announced just last week, to strip protections for transgender people in the Affordable Care Act.
“Until our laws remedy systemic racism and inequality, and our culture catches up to those laws, our movement’s pursuit of LGBTQ equality is far from done,” OutFront Minnesota said in a release.
The Department of Human Rights also applauded the decision.
“Today, the highest court in the country affirmed that discrimination against LGBTQ+ workers is illegal. Since 1993, Minnesota’s civil rights law has prohibited discrimination on the basis of someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation. The decision today by the U.S. Supreme Court echoed this fundamental right,” Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said. “Particularly for trans women of color and gender nonconforming individuals who experience higher rates of discrimination and violence, this ruling will have a profound impact for decades to come.”
The cases involving Title VII, of which there were three before the court, were the first involving LGBTQ rights to reach the justices since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018. Kennedy authored the majority opinions in all major gay rights cases decided by the court, and President Trump replaced him with Justice Brett Kavanaugh, an appointment that shifted the court rightward.
The justices heard oral arguments in the legal battle over Title VII at the start of its term in October, during which Gorsuch, appointed to the high court by Mr. Trump, emerged as the likely swing vote.