What’s Ahead for LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Litigation
To achieve a fully comprehensive law protecting Americans from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, our movement must work on multiple tracks, creating undeniable momentum that the country requires and is ready for fully inclusive non-discrimination protections ensuring no one faces unfair treatment because of who they are or who they love.
In addition to legislative work happening in statehouses and public education work happening elsewhere, part of this work is happening in the courts – and dozens of legal cases related to LGBTQ discrimination are currently pending in courts across the country.
From cases where LGBTQ Americans could secure greater protections to cases in which the LGBTQ movement must defend long-held protections, litigation is being filed and pursued at a rapid pace. Each legal case provides a tremendous public education opportunity, an illustration of how discrimination strips LGBTQ people of their dignity, and a chance to highlight that a broad majority of Americans support comprehensive non-discrimination protections once and for all.
Freedom for All Americans is tracking key litigation related to LGBTQ Americans here. We are grateful for our legal partners – including the American Civil Liberties Union, GLTBQ Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Transgender Law Center, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, and others – making the case against discrimination in the court of law while we support this work and push forward in the court of public opinion. You can read in-depth, primary source documents on all of these cases, and many more, at Equality Case Files.
Types of Lawsuits Currently in Court
Select a case type to view current litigation.
Where LGBTQ Litigation Stands in Federal Appellate Circuits
Nearly all of the nation’s 13 federal appellate courts have considered whether sex discrimination amounts to discrimination based on LGBTQ identity – and in recent years several of these appellate courts have issued landmark decisions in favor of LGBTQ non-discrimination. Take a look at where we stand on the question of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in each circuit:
303 Creative v. Elenis
Case Seeking Religious Exemption from LGBTQ Non-Discrimination LawsKey Date: September 24, 2018 • Oral Argument Before 10th Circuit
Status: Oral Argument to Be Heard by 10th Circuit
Legal Team: Alliance Defending Freedom
Type: Public Accommodations Discrimination
The business owner, a graphic designer, says the non-discrimination law forces her to promote marriages between same-sex couples and so she has filed a preemptive lawsuit.Read More
Arlene’s Flowers v. Washington
Case Seeking Religious Exemptions from LGBTQ Non-Discrimination LawsKey Date: June 14, 2018 • Cert Petition Distributed for U.S. Supreme Court Conference
Status: Cert Petition Pending Before U.S. Supreme Court
Legal Team: Alliance Defending Freedom
In February 2017, the Washington Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a lower court ruling holding that Arlene's Flowers violated Washington state's non-discrimination laws by denying service to the same-sex couple in this case.Read More
Horton v. Midwest Geriatric Management, LLC.
Case Concerning Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation Under Title VIIKey Date: December 21, 2017 • District court ruling against plaintiff
Status: Pending before 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
Legal Team: Private Counsel & Lambda Legal
Type: Employment Discrimination
After Mark applied for, interviewed, was offered, and accepted a job at Midwest Geriatric, LLC, the job offer was rescinded, following his disclosure to management that he was married to a man.Read More
Joel Doe v. Boyertown Area School District
Case Concerning Restroom Access for Transgender StudentsKey Date: May 24, 2018 • 3rd Circuit Ruling in Favor of District
Status: 3rd Circuit Victory Could Face SCOTUS Review
Legal Team: ACLU of Pennsylvania
Type: Discrimination Targeting Transgender Students
This case is about respecting transgender students for who they are and is a part of the growing legislative and legal momentum against restricting restroom access for transgender Americans.Read More
Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew Living Community
Case Concerning Housing Discrimination Based on Sexual OrientationKey Date: February 6, 2018 • Oral Argument Before 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Status: Awaiting Decision from 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Legal Team: Lambda Legal
Type: Housing Discrimination
The plaintiff is Marsha Wetzel, a woman in Niles, Illinois who experienced harassment and discrimination from residents and administrators at Glen St. Andrew Living Community.Read More