"Good news, honey," Corley, executive director of the LGBTQ Center Orange County, said on Monday morning,
Soon, text messages started flooding Corley's phone, adding to the euphoria felt by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community all around
"LGBTQ protection at work is a very good sign that the highest court in our nation understands basic, human rights apply to us all," Corley said.
The 6-3 court decision involved discrimination cases filed on behalf of two gay men and a transgender woman. The four liberal justices on the
Gorsuch wrote: "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."
Conservative court observers were displeased.
The outcome surprised many in the LGBTQ community, who were bracing for a letdown.
"Frankly, I'm both shocked and thrilled," said
"It's the right decision."
But, she added, "this should have already happened."
The hope is that there will be more such decisions. Advocates noted that tug-of-war over LGBTQ rights is taking place even as protests against police treatment of black people is prompting a national conversation about human rights in America.
"We must continue to work to close critical gaps in nondiscrimination protections," said the Rev.
"Even after today's decision, Black LGBTQ people will still face disproportionate discrimination across their lives. The legal rights of all LGBTQ people will not be secure until we end the systemic ways in which racism is used to oppress Black people and other people of color -- at work, in the streets, in the voting booth, and elsewhere."
Alongside the celebration -- largely virtual because of concerns over public gatherings in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic -- there remain outstanding issues of bias and lack of legal protections for LGBTQ people. Russel-Slavin and others said they hope to see equality in areas such as healthcare, adoptions, and access to federally funded programs.
Russell-Slavin pointed to hoped-for passage of the Equality Act, which would amend existing civil rights legislation, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act, and specify sweeping inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity under existing laws. In May of 2019 the House passed the Equality Act, in a bipartisan effort, but the
"That's what's next," Russell-Slavin said of enacting the Equality Act. "We need the
A new rule announced on
The back-to-back whiplash of Friday's policy decision and Monday's court ruling leave
"I'm happy and excited. But at the same time, as a transgender person, I know that healthcare protections were revoked," said Singh, 30, who lives in
Singh, originally from
"This commitment is undiminished by recent changes to federal regulations," the statement said, in reference to the action taken by the
But perhaps the
"I hope that this fuels the fight to get inclusive healthcare for everyone nationwide."
Others suggested the ruling might signal that the
Whitehead, whose expertise includes legal and judicial politics, said he was less surprised by
But Whitehead, author of "Judging Judges: Values and the Rule of Law," said it remains to be seen whether Monday's decision portends a developing split among the conservative justices that will apply in upcoming cases, including some involving religious freedom and abortion rights, that hinge on interpretations of equal protection rather than legislation.
"These things are hard to predict," Whitehead said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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