ACLU of Oklahoma and Freedom Oklahoma Joint Statement on Supreme Court Win for LGBTQ+ Rights

Affiliate: ACLU of Oklahoma
June 15, 2020 11:15 am

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Over 50 years ago, Black and Brown trans women fought back against police brutality and discrimination that too many LGBTQ+ people still face. And while the movement for Black lives keeps the spirit of Pride alive, the Supreme Court has ruled without question that LGBTQ+ people are protected from discrimination in the workplace.

This decision will go a long way towards affirming legal protections in education, housing, credit and health care — areas where too many LGBTQ+ people, particularly Black and Brown people, still face discrimination.

“Today, the United States Supreme Court stated unequivocally that Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination because of sex includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This decision fundamentally alters the legal landscape for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Michael Redman, ACLU of Oklahoma Interim Legal Director. “Besides the consideration of employment status, this decision also applies to the terms and conditions of that employment, including health benefits. Employers and their health insurance providers will have to evaluate their health plans to ensure gender parity for their transgender employees. We applaud and welcome the Supreme Court’s opinion.”

We mourn the fact that neither Aimee Stephens, who just died in May, nor Don Zarda, who died in 2014, lived to see this important victory that their struggles paved the way for. One of Aimee’s last wishes was to see the fight to end discrimination continue and we thank her for being a trailblazer and hero.

“This is an incredible victory for the movement for LGBTQ+ equality,” said Allie Shinn, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma. “The highest court in the land has ruled today that LGBTQ+ people can and should be protected from discrimination. Today, we celebrate, and tomorrow we turn our eyes toward what is next, knowing that this movement is not done until each and every one of our communities, especially our Black LGBTQ+ communities and LGBTQ+ communities of color have the full dignity, legal equality, and safety they deserve.”

There are still critical gaps in our nondiscrimination laws. Because Title VII only covers employers with 15 or more employees, we call on the Oklahoma legislature to amend the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination statute to expressly include sexual orientation and gender identity, thus giving all LGBTQ+ people protection in the workplace. And we urge Congress to take that protection one step farther by passing the Equality Act to guard the community from discrimination in public accommodations, federal programs, and more.

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