Things That Matter

Supreme Court Rules LGBTQ+ People Protected From Workplace Discrimination

The Supreme Court has ruled that companies cannot fire people for being part of the LGBTQ+ community. Before the ruling, it was still legal for employers to fire people for being part of the LGBTQ+ community. This is a major victory for LGBTQ+ Americans and a major loss for the Trump administration.

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of LGBTQ+ employees.

In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that the LGBTQ+ community is protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are protected from discriminatory firings and treatment for their sexual orientation or gender identity. The court’s decision states that the LGBTQ+ community is protected under Title VII of the act.

“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,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the decision. “It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”

The decision was 6-3 in favor of protecting LGBTQ+ employees.

Conservative justice Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, and Samuel A. Alito Jr all voted against protecting LGBTQ+ protections in the workplace. Justices John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer voted that the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does include LGBTQ+ people.

“There is only one word for what the court has done today: legislation. The document that the court releases is in the form of a judicial opinion interpreting a statute, but that is deceptive,” Alito wrote in the dissent. “A more brazen abuse of our authority to interpret statutes is hard to recall. The court tries to convince readers that it is merely enforcing the terms of the statute, but that is preposterous.”

The ruling protects millions of LGBTQ+ workers in states that offered no protection.

Before the ruling, employees in several states faced a constant threat of termination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The fear was greater for transgender people who had protections in fewer states than gay and lesbian workers. Justice Gorsuch did state the scope of the ruling.

“We do not purport to address bathrooms, locker rooms or anything else of the kind,” Justice Gorsuch wrote. “Whether other policies and practices might or might not qualify as unlawful discrimination or find justifications under other provisions of Title VII are questions for future cases, not these.”

The decision comes on a day that they also decided not to hear arguments in a case of qualified immunity for police.

It requires four justices to agree to allow for a case to be heard by the justices. Justice Thoms dissented the decision not to take up the case. The conservative justice claims that “qualified immunity doctrine appears to stray from the statutory text.”

Advocates want to see the qualified immunity doctrine to be revised. The doctrine currently makes it easy for lower courts to dismiss cases against police officers. Growing protests in the U.S. demanding a change in police reform after the death of George Floyd.

READ: Supreme Court Refuses Case Challenging California’s Sanctuary State Status

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The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Entertainment

The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Photo via Getty

On Thursday, the cast of “Glee” paid tribute to Naya Rivera at the GLAAD Media Awards. Rivera was a once-in-a-lifetime talent the touched so many lives personally and through the screen while she was alive. But perhaps none of Naya’s roles were as impactful as Santana Lopez was.

This year, GLAAD decided to take time to honor the impact Naya Rivera had on LGBTQ representation onscreen.

During a time when LGBTQ represenation onscreen was rare, Santana Lopez was groundbreaking for being both queer and Latina. Santana went from a shut-off closeted cheerleader to an out-and-proud lesbian woman. This was a story arc many queer kids had never seen before.

Demi Lovato introduced the cast of “Glee” with a touching speech. She described how honored she was (and still is) to have played Santana’s girlfriend, Dani, on the show.

“I don’t have to tell you that this year was a tough, tough year,” Lovato said. “A particular moment of heartbreak stands out for me: losing my friend Naya Rivera. I will always cherish the chance I got to play Naya’s girlfriend, Dani, on ‘Glee.’”

“The character Naya played, Santana Lopez, was groundbreaking for closeted queer girls — like I was at the time,” she went on. “And her ambition and accomplishments inspired Latina women all over the world.”

Then, dozens of former “Glee” cast members gathered via Zoom to pay tribute to Naya Rivera.

The tribute featured former “Glee” actors like Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Jenna Ushkowitz, Chris Colfer, and Kevin McHale. There were also many others.

“Naya would be honored to receive this recognition,” read the statement. “When Naya was told that Santana would be a lesbian she called me to let me know and I asked her how did she feel about that and she said ‘I feel great about it!'”

“This year marks the tenth anniversary that Naya’s character, Santana Lopez, came out on ‘Glee’,” said Dot-Marie Jones, who played Coach Beast on the Fox series.

“Santana basically got disowned by her family. And as alot of us know, that’s a feeling too many LGBTQ kids know too well,” continued Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel.

The loving tribute then ended with a written statement from Naya Rivera’s mother Yolanda Previtire, who couldn’t make it to the call.

“Little did we know that she would impact so many people in the LGBTQ community. Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice.

“She continued: “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

“Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice,” the message read, in part. “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

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More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

Things That Matter

More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

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Trans rights are under siege in over half of the United States this year, as 28 states have proposed one or more anti-trans bills. The bills range from banning trans children from playing on sports teams to prohibiting doctors from giving trans youth life-saving care. 

Despite winning the White House and both houses of Congress, we cannot grow complacent. Now is the time for others from the LGBTQ community and allies to stand up and protect our trans brothers and sisters.

At least 28 states have proposed anti-trans legislation that could severely harm the community.

Less than three months into the new year, Republican lawmakers have already introduced a record number of anti-trans bills across the country.

According to a report published Monday by Axios, at least 73 pieces of legislation have already been put forward in state legislatures targeting members of the transgender community. Of those proposals, 65 specifically single out trans youth, such as bills prohibiting the kinds of medical care doctors can offer trans minors and others seeking to limit the participation of trans student athletes in school sports. 

Notable examples include legislative efforts by South Dakota and Mississippi, both of which passed bills in the past week blocking trans girls from competing in school athletics in accordance with their gender identity. After being approved by their respective Houses and Senates, their governors have vowed to sign them.

These would be the first bills of their kind to become law in the U.S. after numerous attempts to pass anti-trans sports bills in previous years. In 2019, a bill targeting trans student athletes failed in the South Dakota House by just one vote.

LGBTQ+ advocates are warning that the influx of this type of legislation will harm trans and nonbinary youth.

Trans advocates and experts argue that bills like this do not protect young trans people, and recent studies support this. In February, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report which argued that banning the trans community from certain sports programs would deprive an entire group of people of the benefits of athletics, including lower risks of depression, anxiety, and drug use. Despite so many states introducing legislation targeting trans youth in sports, the report also found that the argument of an “unfair advantage” does not actually hold up to data-driven scrutiny.

“This has been a significant part of my work at the ACLU for the past six years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU, told CNN. “There have never been this many bills targeting trans youth voted out of committee and then making it to the floor.”

There is widespread opposition to anti-trans bills, and not just from LGBTQ+ civil rights groups. More than 55 major corporations have endorsed a statement against these bills and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in general; they include Facebook, Pfizer, Microsoft, AT&T, Apple, Dell, American Airlines, and many more. Nearly 550 college athletes have signed a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association demanding that championship games be pulled from states that have anti-trans sports laws or are close to enacting them. More than 1,000 child welfare groups have taken a stand against legislation that would keep trans youth out of school sports or deny them health care.

States that enact anti-LGBTQ+ legislation often experience boycotts, as was the case with North Carolina and its anti-trans “bathroom bill” in 2016 and Indiana with its discriminatory religious freedom law in 2015. The former has now been repealed, the latter amended.

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