Monday, June 15, 2020

SCOTUS says LGBTQ Rights

It had been so long since we’ve had good news that I almost forgot what it feels like. But today, today we got good news. Real, unadulterated, bona fide good news. Because today the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that LGBTQ people cannot legally be fired from work for simply being LGBTQ anymore. The highest court in the land agreed that Title VII, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, codified LGBTQ rights in America. In short, we won. We can’t be fired for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in this country anymore. WE WON.

Seems crazy, but up until now in the year 2020 in literally most states (29 to be exact) you could still be legally fired for being LGBTQ in America.

That all changes with this ruling. The 6-3 ruling comes from one of that Orange Stain in the White House’s own right-wing SCOTUS nominees Neil Gorsuch and agreed upon by George W. Bush’s conservative Chief Justice John Roberts – so there’s no way to spin this as liberal judges run amok.

Granted, LGBTQ people still have a ways to go to achieve full equality. This ruling covers employment discrimination. SCOTUS’s landmark 2015 ruling covered our right to marriage. But we still face legal discrimination in public accommodation, housing and other parts of public life.

Those issues could be addressed by the Democratic-led House passed The Equality Act, which is languishing on Mitch McConnell’s desk as we speak. But the GOP-led Senate refuses to vote on it because Republicans still oppose basic equal rights for LGBTQ people, period. (Think I’m kidding, see all the frantic hand-wringing from conservative “thought leaders” - hello, oxymoron – about today’s SCOTUS decision. No, seriously, go check it out – it’s delicious.)

The only bittersweet part of today’s news (well, other than it taking 20 years into the 21st Century to achieve) is that transgender plaintiff Aimee Stephens and and gay plaintiff Donald Zarda – two of three plaintiffs in cases that SCOTUS considered in this decision along with Gerald Bostock – passed away before the ruling was revealed. And in Amy's case, just a month ago, so she will never be able to see how she helped to change the course of the world for the better. But her name, as the others, will never be forgotten.

Today’s ruling is a reminder that change can happen. Progress is possible. Five years ago LGBTQ people couldn’t get married in all 50 states. Yesterday LGBTQ people weren’t protected from getting fired in all 50 states. Today we can.

We need to keep pushing, keep fighting, keep protesting. For LGBTQ rights. For Black Lives Matter. For the Me Too movement. For all marginalized groups and people in this country to feel they have an equal place at the table. Not special, not separate – but equal.

So take today to celebrate. Soak in what it feels like to become a more fully realized and equal citizen of this country. Remember, joy is an act of resistance. Today we won. We earned this joy. Then let’s rededicate ourselves to ensuring full equal rights for all people from the LGBTQ community to the BIPOC community to those with disabilities and other marginalized peoples. History is on our side. May it come quickly and fully to everyone else who deserves equality in America. Happy Pride, indeed.

1 comment:

Carmen San Diego said...

Fantastic news! Very overdue but so good