Twitter users shed Tweets of joy over landmark SCOTUS decision on gay and transgender civil rights

Supreme Court Justices 2020

SupremeCourt.gov / Fred Schilling

In a huge step forward for gay and transgender people’s civil rights, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a landmark 6-3 ruling that extends civil rights laws against employer discrimination to individuals who are gay or/and transgender.

This decision covered three cases that had made their way to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). All three cases argued that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin,” logically applies to gay men, lesbians, and transgender people.

Unsurprisingly, Trump’s Department of Justice took the position that the Civil Rights Act offered NO protection to gay and transgender employees. But the court disagreed with the argument made by the Trump administration, and with a solid showing.

Six of the nine justices voted for the plaintiffs.

A celebration

Pride parade

Canva

Twitter users are celebrating with the three plaintiffs, sharing what this means to them, and wondering if this is light at the end of the tunnel.

The heroes: plaintiff Aimee Stephens

A screenshot of Aimee Stephens, transgender woman plaintiff to Supreme Court.

ACLU / YouTube screenshot

Aimee Stephens may have won the first transgender rights case to be heard by the Supreme Court, but she did not live to celebrate.

Stephens, the transgender woman who was one of the three plaintiffs to whom this decision applied, was fired when she announced her plan to transition outwardly to female. In her words, she, “got mad enough to do something about it.”

Vox points out how Aimee’s life — and death — illustrate the real effects of discrimination against gay and transgender people. “She lost the job she loved simply for coming out as trans, with her family left to crowdsource her end-of-life expenses.”

The heroes: plaintiff Don Zarda, his partner Bill, and his sister Melissa

A person holding a pride flag

Unsplash / Stavrialena Gontzou

Don Zarda was fired from his job as a skydiving instructor after he mentioned to a female client that he was gay. This comment was intended to make her more comfortable with the idea of being strapped to him for their tandem jump out of an airplane.

Zarda sued his former employer for civil rights violations, but before this ultimate victory, Mr. Zarda died in a base-jumping accident. Don’s sister told Time about how she and Don’s partner, Bill, pursued the case on Don’s behalf — all the way to today’s victory for people who are gay and transgender.

The heroes: plaintiff Gerald Bostock

Gerald Bostock standing in front of trees

Screenshot / YouTube

Gerald Bostock celebrated today’s win in an interview on MSNBC. “It was an honor and privilege to stand by their side,” he said of his Supreme Court victory with Stephens and Zarda.

“We will continue moving forward,” Bostock says, vowing to continue to fight for the rights of gay and transgender people.

Twitter users say Alito, Kavanaugh, and Thomas are no heroes

A photograph of Justice Brett Kavanaugh raging.

Screenshot / Youtube

The Hill reports that there were two dissenting opinions to the victory for the three gay and transgender plaintiffs.

One of these, written by Samuel Alito and joined by Clarence Thomas, argued against the decision because, according to him, people in 1964 didn’t know that gender identity existed. Brett Kavanaugh wrote his own dissent, saying that Title VII did not, “prohibit employment discrimination because of sexual orientation.”

The argument is simple

photograph of a gavel and the scales of justice.

Pixabay

The logic of the argument to SCOTUS for gay and transgender people’s protection under the law was straightforward; this falls under sex discrimination because none of these three people would have been fired if their sex had been different. If any of them had been born in a body that defined them as female-gendered at birth, their behaviors would not have been seen as transgressive.

A simple “what if” spells it out:

Neal Gorsuch?!?

Wikimedia

Some are surprised to see Neal Gorsuch’s name among those who supported the gay and transgender plaintiffs, let alone as the author of the majority opinion.

Not only did he join the vote for gay and transgender rights, he seemed to call on Justices to open their minds:

“The limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands.”

“Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender,” Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion. “The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

Black Trans Lives Matter

A photograph of a Black Lives Matter sign

Flickr / Tony Webster

As the country rallies behind Black Lives Matter protests, activists draw attention to the immense dangers faced by African American people who are transgender.

NBC News reported on the huge crowd that turned out in Brooklyn to rally for protecting Black transgender lives. The rally called attention to the death of Layleen Polanco in police custody, and two African American transgender women who were murdered in the last few days. As LGBTQ advocate Tiq Milan says:

There can be no hierarchy created to determine which Black lives are more valuable than others,”

Are Trump and McConnell unhappy?

Trump and McConnell at a function

White House/ Shealah Craighead

It’s possible that no one is more surprised to see Gorsuch’s name on the winning side than the president who nominated him.

And Moscow Mitch — who has let bills from the House gather dust while he rams conservative judges through the Senate — is probably also in his feelings.

Trump’s administration is still trying to KEEP DISCRIMINATION LEGAL

A photograph of Transgender Pride flags waving in the wind

Flickr / Ted Eytan

On the anniversary of the Pulse mass shooting, Trump’s administration finalized a rule that could deny health care to transgender people.

Will this SCOTUS decision affect Trump’s recent attack on transgender people’s access to the Affordable Care Act?

It’s a whole new day

A photograph of the LGBTQ Pride flag.

Canva

There is still plenty of work to be done, but all over Twitter, people are expressing their hope.

What can you to keep the good days coming?

A photograph of a Vote sign with arrow and american flag

Wikimedia

Like your life depends on it.

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