Supreme Court Action Center

In June 2020, in a major victory, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling affirming critical employment protections for LGBTQ Americans!

The ruling will directly improve the lives of the 11.5 million gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans, and the 1.5 million transgender Americans, for whom workplace discrimination is a daily threat. And it is urgent relief for LGBTQ people living in the 29 states without comprehensive nondiscrimination protections.

Read the Ruling

It’s a major step forward – and yet, even with the decision on the books, there are still shocking gaps in our nation’s nondiscrimination laws. In 29 states, stores, restaurants and hotels can still deny LGBTQ people service, adoption agencies can still refuse to help LGBTQ couples, and transgender people can still essentially be banished from public life. Under federal law, just about anyone can be turned away from a wide range of public places, institutions and services.

We still have to do more to protect all LGBTQ Americans by passing nondiscrimination protections nationwide, including at the federal level with the Equality Act.

Take action with us by signing a petition to federal and state lawmakers to enact comprehensive LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections, and help to spread the word about this huge step forward and what’s left to do!

Sign the Petition Urging Lawmakers to Finish the Job!


The Cases

RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC and Aimee Stephens
Aimee Stephens worked as a funeral director at R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan. When she informed the funeral home’s owner that she is transgender and planned to come to work as the woman she is, her employer 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 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in employment. Aimee was the same capable employee before and after her transition, but she was fired because she took steps to be the woman she is. That’s sex discrimination.

Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda
Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor, was fired from his job in New York for being gay. A federal trial court rejected his discrimination claim, saying that Title VII 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
Gerald Lynn Bostock was fired from his job as a county child welfare services coordinator in Georgia 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.


News & Updates

The Last Five Years: Marriage Equality, Other Milestones, and The Ones We Have Yet to Pass

By Shane Stahl • June 26, 2020, 10:06 am Five years ago today, marriage equality became the law of the land when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges—a watershed moment in American history. Read our reflection on this anniversary—and the work still to be done to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.

A historic decision just came down from the Supreme Court. Here’s what it means for LGBTQ freedom:

By Megan Clayton • June 16, 2020, 10:20 am This is big. It’s a watershed moment for our community, and for our nation’s continued drive toward freedom. But we still need to finish the job of protecting every LGBTQ American from discrimination.

Your View by Boyertown mother of transgender man: Why we need clarity that federal law protects LGBTQ people

By Communications Team • March 24, 2020, 10:51 am As the mother of a young transgender man, I’ve been watching these cases closely. It’s so important that the justices affirm once and for all that federal law protects LGBTQ people from employment discrimination.

Don and Bill: Love, Laughs, and Legacy

By Shane Stahl • February 14, 2020, 10:07 am Bill Moore, now happily married to his loving husband Clint, reflects on the life of his friend and former partner Don Zarda, and how his legacy is helping make the case that LGBTQ Americans should be protected from discrimination.

I’m a Texan and a Republican, and That is Exactly Why I’m Urging the Supreme Court to Protect LGBTQ Americans

By Adam Polaski • November 19, 2019, 3:36 pm Former Texas Speaker of the House Joe Strauss authored this piece on why his Republican values motivate his support for LGBTQ nondiscrimination: "LGBTQ people deserve protection from discrimination. Respecting human dignity, striving for mutual respect and ensuring equal opportunity are nonpartisan values. They are goals we can all work toward together."

Who's Supporting LGBTQ Employment Protections at the Supreme Court?