SCOTUS Hears Argument in Landmark Title VII Sexual Orientation Discrimination Case

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument (transcript; audio) in the matters of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia (No. 17-1618) and Altitude Express v. Zarda (No. 17-1623). The issue is whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition of discrimination because of “sex” likewise prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Justice Samuel Alito noted that sexual orientation was not within Congress’ consideration in 1964, while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg observed that neither was sexual harassment, which courts have subsequently and firmly interpreted to be within Title VII’s protection.

Unlike New York State and New York City law – which specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation – many state and local laws across the country do not include such protections. Therefore, the Court’s decision is likely to have widespread and far-reaching implications for millions of Americans.

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