WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court announced Monday that it would take up three cases on LGBTQ discrimination.
SCOTUSBlog reported that the court would take up two claiming discrimination based on sexual orientation and the third claiming discrimination based on transgender status. After 11 consecutive conferences, the justices agreed to review them.
All three of the cases, according to SCOTUSBlog, would address if Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 baring discrimination on the basis of sex is applicable to LGBTQ issues.
Altitude Express v. Zarda and Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia will be consolidated. The petition for review was filed by aAltitude Express, a New York state skydiving company. After the company fired Donald Zarda, who worked as an instructor for the company, Zarda went to federal court, where he contended that he was terminated because he was gay. Bostock, the blog reported, is about the county falsely accusing child-welfare-services coordinator Gerald Bostock of mismanaging money after finding out he was gay.
With the transgender rights, case, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, the justices will consider whether Title VII’s protections apply to transgender employees. SCOTUSBlog reported that the petition for review was filed by a small funeral home in Michigan, owned by Thomas Rost, who describes himself as a devout Christian. Aimee Stephens, who transitioned to her gender identity as a woman during employment, was fired because “because Rost believed both that allowing Stephens to wear women’s clothes would violate the funeral home’s dress code and that he would be ‘violating God’s commands’ by allowing Stephens to dress in women’s clothing.”
“There is no reason for the Supreme Court to carve LGBT people out of a law that by its own terms protects us from discrimination,” said Greg Nevins, Senior Counsel and Workplace Fairness Program Strategist for Lambda Legal. “Title VII obviously requires equal treatment of men and women, so it was wrong to treat Donald Zarda [or Gerald Bostock] differently because of his attraction to men, when a Donna Zarda or Geraldine Bostock would not have endured discrimination for liking men. And when Aimee Stephens’ employer fired her after learning that she was undertaking a gender transition, her employer discriminated against her because of sex. These arguments couldn’t be more straight-forward, and we are hopeful that the Court will confirm that they are correct.”
The cases would be heard in the fall with decisions coming out during the 2020 presidential campaign.