U.S. Supreme Court Rules 6-3 That Title VII Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Transgender Status

Today, in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618 (June 15, 2020) (J. Gorsuch),[1]This case was decided together with Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda, No. 17-1623 (Second Circuit) and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC, No. 18-107 (Sixth Circuit). the U.S. Supreme Court held that the prohibition of discrimination based on “sex” codified in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status.

From the Opinion:

In our time, few pieces of federal legislation rank in significance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There, in Title VII, Congress outlawed discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids. .

Justice Gorsuch, writing for the majority,[2]Justice Gorsuch wrote the majority Opinion, in which Justices Roberts, Gisnurg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Thomas joined. Justice Kavanaugh filed a separate dissenting opinion. adopts a “textualist” approach to statutory interpretation, explaining that “[w]hen the express terms of a statute give us one answer and extratextual considerations suggest another, it’s no contest. Only the written word is the law, and all persons are entitled to its benefit.”

This is, undoubtedly, a huge win for gay and transgender persons.

References
1 This case was decided together with Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda, No. 17-1623 (Second Circuit) and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC, No. 18-107 (Sixth Circuit).
2 Justice Gorsuch wrote the majority Opinion, in which Justices Roberts, Gisnurg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Thomas joined. Justice Kavanaugh filed a separate dissenting opinion.
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