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By Julian Peeples

Equality Victory: SCOTUS Rules LGBTQ+ Job Discrimination is Illegal

Civil Rights Act applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.

In a historic victory for LGBTQ+ rights and equality, the Supreme Court of the United States on June 15 ruled that the federal civil rights law prohibiting job discrimination on the basis of race, religion and national origin also protects millions of gay and transgender workers.

The court found by a 6-3 majority that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 indeed applies to gay and transgender workers, meaning that no LGBTQ+ worker can be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“What the U.S. Supreme Court said today is that anywhere sex discrimination is prohibited in federal law or the constitution, LGBTQ discrimination is prohibited,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said when the decision was announced. “The message is plain and simple: Our LGBTQ educators and students matter. Full stop.”

CTA has a lengthy history of fighting for LGBTQ+ rights and equality—on the job and at the ballot box. In 1978, our union led the charge against the Briggs Initiative, a ballot measure that would have banned LGBTQ+ teachers in California public schools, while CTA was the largest and most vocal opponent of Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot initiative that sought to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. And CTA locals across the state have supported, defended and stood with hundreds of educators who have been discriminated against because of who they are and who they love.

This is a truly wonderful day for equality, for the LGBTQ+ community and for workers everywhere,” CTA President E. Toby Boyd said. “This is an affirmation of our values as a nation. As we all move forward during these tumultuous times and continue to fight for true equality for all, let’s savor and celebrate this important and long-awaited victory.”

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Check out CTA’s resources on social justice and support for LGBTQ+ students and educators for ways to discuss LGBTQ+ issues and the struggle for equal rights. The Anti-Defamation League offers lesson plans for grades 4-12 as well as book recommendations. GLSEN also has lesson plans and extensive resource guides for educators.