June 15th was a pretty monumental day for LGBTQ rights. The Supreme Court added to the Act of 1964 by granting federal protections to LGBTQ employees from being fired from their workplace, nationwide, based on the sexual orientation or gender identity. There is no way of denying that this isn’t a pretty significant ruling in the last few decades. The flip of this bill is that it also prevents employers from discriminating against LGBTQ people who apply for work. The shocking part, at least for me, is that Justice Neil Gorsuch spoke for the majority of the judges in passing this ruling.
Before this ruling, there were only 21 states that offered protection status to LGBTQ people. If you live here in Ohio, you were one of the remaining states that did not have anything in place to protect its LGBTQ people. Being one of the many “at will employment” states, there was no recourse if you were fired. You could be fired for the sole reason of who you had a relationship with. Whether that has actually changed in states like Ohio, remains to be seen. How this ruling helps is if you were a model employee with no infractions, you can sue your boss if you believe that you were fired because of your sexual orientation or gender identity. The ruling also “should” protect employees if their Identity was part of the reason they were fired, even if not the only reason. Does this really help in “at will employment” states?
The truth is probably far less clear. It does give someone who feels that was the reason for their termination a chance to be able to file a lawsuit against the company. It then, unfortunately, because that person’s burden of proof. We need to take this for what it actually is, a step in the right direction. With this Act in place, it can be a means for citizens of states to push for new legislation in those respective states. That is the most valuable part, to create laws in states that would prevent ANYONE from being fired for sexual orientation and gender identity.
Personally, this seemed a smaller victory after June 12th the Department of Health and Human Serviced had put a regulation into place that basically erased any rights that transgender patients had that would have prevented doctors, hospitals, and health insurance companies from discrimination.
This has been four years of what seems like open attacks on the LGBTQ community from the current administration. Watching companies hide behind religions connotations to prevent service to the LGBTQ community, removing transgender people from being able to serve in the military were only some of the many. We have to take solace in the victories that we do have and use those to unites ourselves with all other minorities for our continued struggles. We need to change the administration that is in power and push for all forms of prejudice to be eliminated. Unity in this fight is the only possible means to achieve that outcome. Let’s celebrate our victories and make sure we are still fighting for LGBTQ rights for the future.