LGBTQ Rights Hang in the Balance of the Supreme Court

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Friday, 04 October 2019 10:30
  • Written by Jose Hernandez

supreme court lgbtThroughout the history of the United States; there have been landmark cases that have changed the nation. Famous cases such as Brown v Board of Education (1954) and Roe v Wade have dealt with segregation and abortion. Now, in 2019, there will be three cases that deal with LGBTQ rights; cases that can change the nation once again.
On Oct. 8, the Supreme Court will hear three cases that will determine whether the rights of the LGBTQ community will be protected under discrimination laws, and whether these laws protect them from discrimination in their workplace; which will set a precedent for the future. The first one has to do with Aimee Stephens and transgender rights.

Since 2008, Stephens had been trying to figure out her true self and trying to piece it all together. In 2012 she finally made the transition and started confiding into people about who she really was. It wouldn’t be until 2013 when she would tell her boss at R.G and G.R Harris Funeral Homes, a place where she worked as a funeral home director for six years. Stephens gave her boss a letter explaining her experience and her difficulties coming to terms with who she is and explained that she would be adhering to the women’s dress code from now on. Two weeks later, Stephens was terminated.
Stephens argues that federal sex discrimination laws should protect LGBTQ people as well, and on Oct. 8, the Supreme Court will decide if the rights of transgender
individuals are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Supreme Court will also decide if sexual orientation is also protected under these federal laws by hearing two other cases.

Donald Zarda and Gerald Bostock both claim they were fired from their respective workplace after coming out as gay. Zarda was a skydiving instructor who worked for Altitude Express until 2010 when he was abruptly fired. The incident that ignited the whole thing was when Zarda told a customer his sexual orientation to sooth her concerns of being strapped to a guy; he was fired shortly after that. Altitude Express claims that Zarda touched the customer inappropriately, but Zarda’s team denies these allegations and says Zarda was fired for his sexual orientation. Zarda sued his former workplace, and in 2018 the Court of Appeals for the Second District agreed that sexual orientation is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Unfortunately,
Zarda would not hear this ruling as he passed away in 2014. Altitude Express later petitioned for the Supreme Court to review this case and was successful.

The Supreme Court will also hear the case of Gerald Bostock. Bostock worked for the Clayton County in Georgia. He was part of their Court Appointed Special Advocates program until 2013 when he was fired; Bostock claims it was because he was gay. He alleges that his workplace found out after he joined a gay softball league, and he also claims that some of his former coworkers made negative comments on his sexual orientation. The county has vehemently denied firing Bostock for his sexual orientation. Bostock sued the county but hasn’t been successful, thus bringing his case to the eyes of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court will hear these three cases on Oct. 8 and will finally set a precedent on whether the LGBTQ community is protected under Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 from discrimination in the workplace.