Supreme Court Rules, 6-3, That the Civil Rights Act Applies to LGBTQ Rights

Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the 6-3 majority:

Sometimes small gestures can have unexpected consequences. Major initiatives practically guarantee them. In our time, few pieces of federal legislation rank in significance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There, in Title VII, Congress outlawed discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.

Those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result. Likely, they weren’t thinking about many of the Act’s consequences that have become apparent over the years, including its prohibition against discrimination on the basis of motherhood or its ban on the sexual harassment of male employees. But the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands. When the express terms of a statute give us one answer and extratextual considerations suggest another, it’s no contest. Only the written word is the law, and all persons are entitled to its benefit.

My headline here links to Slate’s coverage of the opinion, which includes analysis and opinion from both sides of the issue. But I highly recommend reading Gorsuch’s opinion: it’s cogent, clear, and compelling — and, very much conservative.

See also: Sean Trende’s analysis at RealClearPolitics, including a compelling theory that Roberts voted with the majority strategically, not because he necessarily agreed.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020