US Supreme Court Ruling on Protection from Discrimination in Employment for LGBT People Will Reverberate Across the World

15 June 2020

Media Contact: Daina Ruduša, commsteam@outrightinternational.org, +1 (917) 622-1865

US Supreme Court Ruling on Protection from Discrimination in Employment for LGBT People Will Reverberate Across the World

On Monday, 15 June 2020, the Supreme Court of the US ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination, applies to cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

In a landmark ruling, decided by a 6-3 vote, the court ruled overwhelmingly that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a form of sex discrimination and therefore prohibited by the Civil Rights Act. This is a critical case for the USA, where more than half the states do not have explicit protection against discrimination for LGBTIQ people. The ruling comes at a time when the Trump administration has rolled back numerous advances in the protection of particularly trans people, including the Department of Health removing protection from discrimination for trans people in healthcare on Friday, 12 June 2020. The Justice Department argued that Title VII doesn’t cover discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, commented:

The Supreme Court stating explicitly that under the Civil Rights Act, discrimination based on sex includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a tremendous victory. The decision comes at a time when the Trump administration has been viciously attacking the rights of LGBTIQ people, in particular trans people. It will protect millions of Americans from discrimination in the workplace, and sends a powerful message - that political power-play can not erase basic human rights. This judgment will have implications for LGBTIQ people everywhere - governments and movements are inspired by each other, and landmark judgments are quoted by courts across the world. OutRight welcomes, and celebrates this ruling!

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OutRight

Every day around the world, LGBTIQ people’s human rights and dignity are abused in ways that shock the conscience. The stories of their struggles and their resilience are astounding, yet remain unknown—or willfully ignored—by those with the power to make change. OutRight Action International, founded in 1990 as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, works alongside LGBTIQ people in the Global South, with offices in six countries, to help identify community-focused solutions to promote policy for lasting change. We vigilantly monitor and document human rights abuses to spur action when they occur. We train partners to expose abuses and advocate for themselves. Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people.