Pritzker signs LGBTQ-inclusive jury service non-discrimination legislation

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CHICAGO — On Aug. 9, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law that will protect LGBTQ Illinoisans from discrimination in jury service, according to Equality Illinois.

“Serving on a jury is a fundamental obligation of American democracy. Now, like other pro-equality states, Illinois will protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in jury service,” said Michael Ziri, Director of Public Policy at Equality Illinois, the state’s civil rights organization for LGBTQ people. “This new law will bring our judicial system nearer to eliminating discrimination and ensuring equal protection under the law. We thank Gov. Pritzker, Sen. Hutchinson, and Rep. Didech for their leadership on this measure and dedication to ensuring the equal treatment and inclusion of LGBTQ llinoisans.”

Under Senate Bill 1378, no person who is qualified and able to serve may be excluded from jury service in any state court on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.The legislation, which was sponsored by State Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) and State Rep. Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove), passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously.

SB 1378 is trailer legislation to Public Act 100-0228, which established non-discrimination protections in state law that mirror the federal statute’s designation of “race, color, religion, sex, national origin and economic status” as protected classes for non-discrimination in jury service. Public Act 100-0228 passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously in 2017.

Other states have similar LGBTQ-inclusive jury service non-discrimination laws, including California, Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Additionally, in SmithKline v. Abbott (2014), the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that equal protection prohibits jury service discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Press release from Equality Illinois