Key decision coming in sexual orientation, gender identity employment discrimination

Abortion rights supporters protest at the Louisiana Capitol where lawmakers were considering a bill that would ban abortion at as early as six weeks of pregnancy

Abortion rights supporters protest at the Louisiana Capitol where lawmakers were considering a bill that would ban abortion at as early as six weeks of pregnancy

Gorsuch, a Trump-appointed justice who considered himself a textualist, asked many questions suggesting he's at least considering the idea of anti-LGBT discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, thus prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Supreme Court opened its new session on Monday.

Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor from NY, and Gerald Bostock, a former child welfare services co-ordinator from Georgia, both say they were fired due to their sexual orientation.

After Bostock made a decision to join a gay recreational softball league, the county fired him for "conduct unbecoming a county employee". "Within months, I was sacked for being gay".

The court will also hear a related case, brought by transgender Michigan Aimee Stephens. Three cases - R.G & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC; Bostock v. Clayton County; and Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda - are scheduled to be heard and decided. For eight months, she worked on a letter to her boss and co-workers telling them of her gender identity.

"Assume for a moment that I'm with you on the textual argument". Or where managers can freely fire a woman because her face "looks too aggressive" or because they suspect her responsibilities at home mean she won't be dedicated to her work.

In a court filing past year, the funeral home owner argued it wanted Ms Stephens to comply with a dress code "applicable to Stephens' biological sex". The House under Democratic control passed the Equality Act in May to amend the Civil Rights Act and to prohibit discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy (or) childbirth".

The Supreme Court heard arguments in three separate related cases, those of Bostock and Stephens as well as the late Donald Zarda, a former NY skydiving instructor whose claim is being pursued by his estate.

Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative, seemed to agree with that argument, saying Congress in 1964 did not envision covering sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Supporting that argument are 15 states, including Texas, and its solicitor general, Kyle Hawkins.

Since then, the court has also ruled that sex-based stereotypes (in some cases) and same-sex sexual harassment are both actionable under Title VII. He said it is the job of Congress to update the law, not the justice system.

Yes back in 2016 after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court by a vote of 5 to 3 struck down a Texas law that requires doctors who perform abortions in Texas to have what's known as admitting privileges - the right to admit their patients at local hospitals.

Ria Tabacco Mar of the powerful American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said that "in many ways, this is more fundamental than what was at stake" in the same-sex marriage case of 2015. And, he said, "it is ultimately the provisions of our laws, rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed". The justices will hear arguments Tuesday in two cases on that topic, their first foray into LGBT rights since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote all the court's major gay-rights rulings.

Picking apart the meaning and goal of the Title VII law is nothing but an excuse for bigotry and discrimination.

In court briefs, Francisco said that the case isn't about whether as a "matter of policy" Title VII should forbid discriminating against LGBT+ people - it's about the fact that the current law simply doesn't provide those protections. But it is arguably more stark. This had been understood for decades as protecting women from being denied jobs or promotions that went to men instead.

The US Department of Justice under President Donald Trump has supported the employers in each case.

Federal law does indeed bar sex discrimination in sports programs at schools that get federal money. And the regulations for education funding under Title IX "are different than the rules in the workplace" under Title VII.

Kavanaugh will be watched this term to see where he'll stand on some of the hot-button issues confronting the Supreme Court, CBS News chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford points out.

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