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:
Joel Doe v. Boyertown Area School District
Case Concerning Restroom Access for Transgender StudentsKey Date: September 26, 2017 • Federal Court Ruling Appealed to 3rd Circuit
Status: Victory Being Appealed to 3rd Circuit
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
Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig and Mullins
Case Seeking Religious Exemptions from LGBTQ Non-Discrimination LawsKey Date: December 5, 2017 • Oral Argument Before U.S. Supreme Court
Status: Awaiting Decision from U.S. Supreme Court
Legal Team: American Civil Liberties Union
Type: Public Accommodations Discrimination
Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig and Mullins concerns a business owner in Colorado who denied service to a same-sex couple because of their sexual orientation. The business owner seeks a religious exemption to a longstanding non-discrimination law in Colorado prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.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
Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc.
Case Concerning Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation Under Title VIIKey Date: September 26, 2017 • En Banc Oral Argument before 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
Status: Pending before 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
Legal Team: Gregory Antollino
Type: Employment Discrimination
Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc. is a case concerning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. After revealing his sexual orientation to a customer at the skydiving business where he worked on Long Island, NY, Don Zarda was fired.Read More