The country received a devastating rollback earlier this week. At least that’s how a conservative anti-LGBT Trump supporter would feel after hearing Monday’s news.
The Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation. The law previously only included protections based on sex, with LGBT activists arguing it should include sexual-orientation discrimination as well.
Luckily, the Second Circuit agreed with those activists in a 10-3 ruling.
In a majority opinion, Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann wrote on the evolution of Title VII.
“Since 1964, the legal framework for evaluating Title VII claims has evolved substantially,” Katzmann wrote, noting that the law should also include sexual orientation.
“Sexual-orientation discrimination is a subset of sex discrimination because sexual orientation is defined by one’s sex in relation to the sex of those to whom one is attracted, making it impossible for an employer to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without taking sex into account,” Katzmann added.
While the ruling currently only applies to the 2nd Circuit, which includes New York, Connecticut and Vermont, the U.S. Supreme Court could affirm (or reverse, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that) the decision and expand it nationwide.
The case originated with skydiving instructor Donald Zarda, who said his employer fired him because of his sexual orientation. Zarda died in a 2014 base-jumping incident but his family and estate continued the lawsuit against his employer, Altitude Express.
While Zarda didn’t live to see his case conclude, he still made major changes to the Second Circuit’s LGBT community — much to the chagrin of the Justice Department, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief opposing Zarda.
The Trump administration has tried to consistently roll back the rights of our community and this demonstrates yet another failure during the president’s hateful rule.
We may have thought we lost on Nov. 8, 2016, but after this particular ruling, it’s clear who the real winners are.