Transgender activist Aimee Stephens sits in her wheelchair outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 8, 2019, as the court holds oral arguments in cases dealing with workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The US Supreme Court ruled on Monday that because of their sexual orientation, the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring sex discrimination in the workplace protects LGBTQ employees from being fired.
The vote was 6-to-3, with the majority of conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch joining the four Liberal Justices of the court.
“In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee,” the court decided in the decision made on Monday. “We do not hesitate to recognize today a necessary a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.”
The lawmakers who drafted and enacted the law did not necessarily need to consider how it could be applied in cases such as those that the court has considered since then, Gorsuch wrote for the majority.
“Likely, they weren’t talking of many of the act’s ramifications that have become evident over the years, including its prohibition on sexism on the grounds of motherhood or its ban on the sexual abuse of male employees. But the limitations of the drafters’ creativity provide little excuse to disregard the law’s demands.”
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The decision of the Supreme Court Delivers Major Victory To LGBTQ Employees came in several cases brought by employees of gays and transgenders.
Gerald Bostock has been coordinator of child welfare for Clayton County, Ga. He argued that after joining a gay recreational softball league in 2013, he was fired.
“From that point on, my life changed,” he said in an interview with the NPR last October. His work reviews have been outstanding by then, he added, and under his leadership the county “reached the benchmark of serving 100 percent of the children in foster care, which was an unheard of milestone in any metro Atlanta program.”
However, when word came out that he had joined the gay softball league, none of that seemed relevant.
“I lost my livelihood. I lost my medical insurance, and I was recovering from prostate cancer when this occurred,” he said. “It was devastating.”
Aimee Stephens, who spent six years as a child, served as a funeral director at the Harris Funeral Home in Livonia, Mich. But by 2012, Stephens was, at one point, contemplating suicide, in despair over her gender identity.
“I stood in the back yard with a gun to my chest. But I couldn’t do it,” she told NPR last October.
Instead, she decided to come out as a transgender woman at work, in a letter telling her colleagues and her employer about her decision. But she was fired two weeks after handing the letter to her boss.
Stephens died earlier this year but she continued her case.
The Harris Funeral Home director, Tom Rost, who fired Stephens, described his decision as one necessitated by the response he expected from “the families we serve. How would they possibly react to this?” he added, adding that Stephens was “the face of the Harris Funeral Home.”
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