Renowned LGBTQ Equality Advocate Masen Davis to Deliver Remarks at Supreme Court Rally on Tuesday

By Communications Team • October 7, 2019 • 9:25 am

Davis will discuss Supreme Court oral arguments around three landmark Supreme Court cases on LGBTQ workplace discrimination

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On October 8th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear three cases about LGBTQ employment discrimination that will determine whether federal law will continue to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Masen Davis, the outgoing CEO of Freedom for All Americans and a transgender, gay man will give remarks at 9 AM outside the Supreme Court and is available for interviews in-person and by phone. Davis is a seasoned strategist who has spent the last two decades leading efforts to advance equality for LGBTQ Americans at the state, national, and global levels, and he will discuss what this case means to him as a member of the LGBTQ community, and how it could have repercussions that affect millions of Americans across the country.

The three cases being heard by the Court on October 8th concern two gay men (one now deceased) and one transgender woman who were fired by their employers simply because of who they are. The Supreme Court will consider how these firings violated Title VII’s ban on workplace sex discrimination. Supporters of the employees will gather at the Supreme Court for a rally beginning at 8:30am EST Tuesday.

“The Supreme Court has the opportunity to affirm that all LGBTQ people should be able to work hard, make a living, and support themselves and their loved ones without fear of humiliation, harassment, or discrimination,” said Davis. “The law is on our side – many federal courts and agencies have long held that firing someone simply for being transgender, gay, lesbian, or bisexual is unlawful sex discrimination, and the Supreme Court should agree and affirm these existing protections. A ruling from the Supreme Court suggesting it’s lawful to have fired Aimee for being transgender, or Don or Gerald for being gay, would be a huge step backwards that would shock the American public.”

To schedule an interview with Davis, contact Linds Jakows at linds@freedomforallamericans.org / 602.989.3283.


Background on each of the cases

On October 8 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear three cases about LGBTQ employment discrimination that will determine if federal law will continue to protect LGBTQ people under Title VIII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s ban on workplace sex discrimination.
R.G. & G.R. HARRIS FUNERAL HOMES v. EEOC and AIMEE STEPHENS (TRANSGENDER STATUS)

Aimee Stephens worked as a funeral director at R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes.  When she informed the funeral home’s owner that she is transgender and planned to come to work as the woman she is, the business owner fired her, saying it would be “unacceptable” for her to appear and behave as a woman. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in March 2018 that when the funeral home fired her for being transgender, it violated Title VII – the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in employment. Firing Aimee —who remained the same capable employee — for publicly identifying and presenting as the woman she is is sex discrimination
ALTITUDE EXPRESS INC. v. ZARDA (SEXUAL ORIENTATION)

Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor, was fired from his job for being gay. A federal trial court rejected his discrimination claim, saying that the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not protect him from losing his job for being a gay man. Tragically, in October 2014, Zarda died unexpectedly, but the case continues on behalf of his family. In February 2018, the full Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of discrimination based on sex that is prohibited under Title VII. The court recognized that when a lesbian, gay, or bisexual person is treated differently because of discomfort or disapproval that they are attracted to people of the same sex, that’s discrimination based on sex.
BOSTOCK v. CLAYTON COUNTY (SEXUAL ORIENTATION)

Gerald Lynn Bostock was fired from his job as a county child welfare services coordinator when his employer learned he is gay. In May 2018, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider an outdated 1979 decision wrongly excluding sexual orientation discrimination from coverage under Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination, and denied his appeal.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument on all three cases on October 8, 2019. A decision is expected by June 2020.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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