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Big Test for LGBT Rights on Supreme Court Docket

Justices will rule on workplace discrimination
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 22, 2019 12:06 PM CDT
The Supreme Court is seen at sunset in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court is taking on a major test of LGBT rights in cases that look at whether federal civil rights law bans job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, per the AP. The justices said Monday they will hear cases involving people who claim they were fired because of their sexual orientation and another that involves a funeral home employee who was fired after disclosing that she was transitioning from male to female and dressed as a woman. The cases will be argued in the fall, with decisions likely by June 2020 in the middle of the presidential election campaign. For details on all the cases involved, see SCOTUSblog.

The issue is whether Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, protects LGBT people from job discrimination. Title VII does not specifically mention sexual orientation or transgender status, but federal appeals courts in Chicago and New York have ruled recently that gay and lesbian employees are entitled to protection from discrimination. The federal appeals court in Cincinnati has extended similar protections for transgender people. The big question is whether the Supreme Court, with a strengthened conservative majority, will do the same. The cases are the court's first on LGBT rights since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored the court's major gay rights opinions.

(Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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