A historic decision just came down from the Supreme Court. Here’s what it means for LGBTQ freedom:By Megan Clayton • June 16, 2020 • 10:20 am
A historic decision just came down from the Supreme Court: They have ruled that companies can’t unfairly fire or otherwise discriminate against LGBTQ people in the workplace!
This is big. It’s a watershed moment for our community, and for our nation’s continued drive toward freedom.
The ruling will directly improve the lives of the 11.5 million gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans, and the 1.5 million transgender Americans, for whom workplace discrimination is a daily threat. And it is urgent relief for LGBTQ people living in the 29 states without comprehensive nondiscrimination protections.
LGBTQ Americans really needed this, for our own safety and economic security. But all Americans can take heart in it—because a majority of all Americans want their LGBTQ neighbors protected from discrimination.
Which is why I know our country will finish the job of protecting every LGBTQ American from discrimination. You heard that right: Even with today’s Supreme Court decision on the books, there are still shocking gaps in our nation’s nondiscrimination laws.
In 29 states, stores, restaurants and hotels can still deny us service. Adoption agencies can still refuse us help. And transgender people like me can still be essentially banished from public life. In fact, under federal law, just about anyone can be turned away from a wide range of public places, institutions and services. These gaps are exacerbated by a culture of systemic racism and an ever-present public health crisis that leaves Black, indigenous, and LGBTQ people of color especially susceptible to harm.
That’s why 29 states must still pass statewide nondiscrimination protections, and Congress must still pass a comprehensive federal nondiscrimination law, like the Equality Act.
We know, as we watch the nation rise up against racism that perpetuates violence against Black Americans, that it takes more than laws to end systemic oppression. Our nation, at every level—across our society and culture—needs to also address the systemic racism that perpetuates discrimination and violence against people of color, including those who are LGBTQ, even when such discrimination is formally prohibited by law. But laws prohibiting discrimination and addressing systemic racism are the least our country can do for its most vulnerable until our culture catches up.
Until then, systemic racism will expose Black, indigenous and LGBTQ people of color to disproportionate discrimination and the pursuit of LGBTQ equality will be far from done.