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Today (Oct. 8), the United States Supreme Court will hear three major cases that can make or break the future of employment protections for LGBTQ+ folks.
Altitude Express Inc. v Zarda was filed on behalf of Donald Zarda who was fired from his job as a skydiver in 2010 after coming out as a gay man to a customer. Zarda died in Oct. 2014 in a tragic base-jumping accident in Switzerland. Zarda’s sister, Melissa, and his partner, Bill Moore, have taken been fighting this case in his memory.
Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, focuses on Gerald Bostock, a gay man, who was fired from his position as a child welfare services worker. He claims that Clayton County used the reason of mismanaging public money as a cover to fire him for being gay.
The third case, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC & Aimee Stephens, focuses on a transgender woman who says she was fired after she told her boss of her transition. The woman, Aimee Stephens, worked as the funeral director for six years before her termination.
Less than half of the states in the U.S. have laws that ban sexual and gender identity discrimination. This means that in the states without sexual and gender identity discrimination bans, LGBTQ+ folks can be fired from their jobs, refused service or barred from being inside of an establishment.
Utah is the only state that has passed an anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination law within the last 10 years.
If the U.S. Supreme Court votes in favor of the employees, it can bring a series of national LGBTQ+ employment protections being passed.
However, Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern worries that if the U.S. Supreme Court rules against the employees, it can lead to the government tightening the federal government’s definition of what “sex” means in sex discrimination.
To find out if your state has an anti-discrimination law, click here.