In the midst of the COVID-19 health crisis and vitally important nationwide demonstrations in support of Black lives Matter, today’s Supreme Courtruling is heartening and encouraging. The Supreme Court has ruled that companies do not have a right to discriminate against LGBTQ people in the workplace. This historic decision says that LGBTQ people are, and should be, protected from discrimination under federal law.
Protection from discrimination in the workplace is more important than ever given the current high unemployment rates and the prospects of finding a new job low. According to the Human RIghts Campaign, 17% of LGBTQ people and 22% of LGBTQ people of color reported becoming unemployed as a result of COVID-19 and 33% of LGBTQ people and 38% of LGBTQ people have had their work hours reduced.
While LGBTQ people now have legal protection from discrimination at work, we still have a long way to go. Even after today’s decision, it will still be legal under federal law:
For stores, restaurants and hotels to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
For federally funded programs, including hospitals, colleges, and adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
No American should be denied the medical care they need when they need it. Unfortunately, LGBTQ Americans live with this fear even in the best of times, and that’s why we need to make sure no American faces discrimination or is denied services simply because of who they are.
Passing comprehensive federal non-discrimination protections would help ensure that all people, including those who are LGBTQ, have a fair opportunity to earn a living, meet their obligations, provide for themselves and their families and have access to quality healthcare.
In this moment in our nation’s history, we are also keenly aware that such discrimination disproportionately impacts Black LGBTQ people and other LGBTQ people of color; and that even when laws protect us, the violence our community experiences disproportionately impacts Black LGBTQ people and other LGBTQ people of color. We remember Tony McDade, a 38-year-old Black transgender man, was shot and killed by police in Tallahassee, Florida on May 27. We recommit ourselves to the work of racial justice.
Today’s decision is an important step forward. It is also a powerful reminder of how much work is left to do, and how critical that work remains.
About CAMP Rehoboth: CAMP Rehoboth is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community service organization dedicated to creating a positive environment inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities in Rehoboth Beach and its related communities. It seeks to promote cooperation and understanding among all people, as they work to build a safer community with room for all.