The ruling could have a massive effect on LGBTQ rights in the United States.
The US Supreme Court has confirmed it will be taking on cases surrounding people who have been fired because of their sexual or gender identity. It is expected that their ruling will be made next year in June 2020.
There is currently no nationwide protection for LGBTQ workers, and in most states it is legal to fire someone because they are LGBTQ. However, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which protects people from sex-based discrimination has occasionally been interpreted as a protection for LGBTQ people.
The three cases that the Supreme Court will be taking on relate to Donald Zarda, Gerald Bostock and Aimee Stephens. Donald and Gerald claim to have been fired due to them being gay, while Aimee says she was fired due to her being transgender.
Although the Supreme Court has made pro-LGBTQ decisions in the past, now that it has a conservative majority, recent rulings have found against the LGBTQ community.
Last year, they ruled by 7-2 in favour of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, arguing that the refusal of service didn’t violate Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws.
And earlier this year, they voted by 5-4 in favour of Trump’s transgender military ban. Although the decision is temporary, this means that the Trump administration will be able to enforce the ban while the case proceeds.
If the judges rule in favour of the fired workers, and interpret Title VII to protect LGBTQ workers then it should protect LGBTQ workers going into the future. But if they rule against it then there will no protections for LGBTQ workers on a federal level.
However, Democrats are currently trying to pass the Equality Act and have it implemented nationwide. The Equality Act aims to stop anti-LGBTQ discrimination in many fields, including employment and housing.
Last month, Oscar-winning actress Sally Field and her gay son Sam released a video with the Human Rights Campaign explaining their reasons for supporting the Equality Act.
One of the reasons Sam gave in the video was: “[It’s about] letting those kids know that their rights are the same as everybody else, and that they shouldn’t be discriminated against based on who they are and who they love.”