Despite being #Pride Month, the LGBTQIA2-S community has spent June doing a lot more grieving than celebrating. In the last week alone, the Trump administration rolled back Trans* health protections –– on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting no less –– and urged the Supreme Court to limit protections for LGBTQIA2-S folx in the workplace.
Luckily, his administration lost that fight before the US Supreme Court.
A Supreme Win
Today, the Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited disciplining, firing or turning down a prospective employee based on their sexual orientation. This is a huge win for the LGBTQIA2-S community, who has fought for sexuality-specific legal protections for 40+ years. Although the court didn’t add any provisions, it did rule that the protection for these folx is implied.
The debate came down to two interpretations of one key phrase: “prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”
The winning side, including the four democrats and a surprise republican duo, argued that sexuality is tied to sex. Therefore, employees are protected based on “traits or actions [an employer] would not have questioned in members of a different sex.”
Intent Vs. Impact
Ironically, the “intent versus impact” conversation emerged even at the highest level in the nation’s courts. For a refresher, “intent versus impact” argues that what you meant by an action isn’t as powerful as the effect that action left.
Justices who voted against the ruling argued that the writers of the bill never meant to include sexuality. With Brett Kavanaugh writing “Seneca Falls was not Stonewall. The women’s rights movement was not (and is not) the gay rights movement, although many people support or participate in both.”
However, Neil Gorsuch (R) argued the opposite; that just because the writers of the original bill didn’t imagine the modern-day applications doesn’t mean they aren’t legit. In his eyes –– and the eyes of the other supporting justices –– protections against sexual orientation were an unintended, but legitimate consequence.
Time For Some #RainbowHair!
The Tease is proud to celebrate with the rest of our beautifully diverse hair & beauty community. From the uniqueness of our artists to the clients we serve, we’ve seen the beauty in helping others live as their truest selves, with the transformative ability of hair being our tool of choice.
Still, like we’ve heard throughout the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s important to keep putting in the work. Even with this win, Congress has the opportunity to tweak the law. Luckily, getting the majority vote to make the change is pretty unlikely. To keep protecting our LGBTQIA2-S folx, we must all stay informed, focused and vigilant.