Supreme Court hears arguments in LGBTQ discrimination case

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Some of the folks outside the U.S. Supreme Court during oral arguments
Some of the folks outside the U.S. Supreme Court during oral arguments in a landmark LGBTQ discrimination case being decided in the coming year. Photo by Larry Bryant ACLU/DC.

Newsbrief 

The Supreme Court of the United States has heard the arguments in a LGBTQ discrimination case that could profoundly impact millions of LGBTQ workers. The Court will decide if the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, should also encompass sexual orientation and gender expression.

The Trump Justice Department is attempting to deny LGBTQ people protection from sex discrimination, say activists and lawyers working on the case. Should the Supreme Court overturn lower courts’ rulings, that could take away existing protections from LGBTQ employees, and make it legal under federal law to fire LGBTQ people for their gender identity or sexual orientation.

As of Tuesday, the Court appears to be divided. A decision is expected by early summer of next year, in the thick of the presidential campaign. The Trump administration supports employers in arguing that the Civil Rights Act’s Title VII does not explicitly prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity.