WASHINGTON — In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 15 that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people cannot be fired or discriminated against in the workplace under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. LGBTQ leaders across the country rejoiced in the court’s decision but could not deny the decision’s shortcomings and continuing injustices facing people of color.
Glenn D. Magpantay, executive director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, said, “Today’s decision is welcome reprieve from the onslaught of crisis over the past year — aggressive ICE enforcement and mass deportations of immigrants, police brutality and the killing of African Americans and Trump’s elimination of health care protections under the Affordable Care Act. We celebrate, and yet we must continue to right against anti-gay discrimination and legal and cultural racism!”
The decision is a watershed moment for the LGBTQ community, which has been working for decades to secure basic protections from discrimination. The court’s decision will directly impact millions of people across the country and allow them to live their lives and take care of their families with respect and dignity.
It will also directly improve the lives of 11.5 million gay, lesbian and bisexual people and 1.5 million transgender people living in the U.S., including those among the 5.2 million Asian Americans who live in one of 30 states where they are at risk of being fired, refused housing or denied services simply because they are LGBT.
“Even with this landmark ruling, our work is not finished. There are still critical gaps in federal and state nondiscrimination laws for LGBTQ people,” said Stan Yogi. “When my husband and I visit my in-laws in Texas, we have no legal recourse if a restaurant or hotel refuses to serve us because we’re gay.”
While LGBTQ people now cannot be fired at work, it is still legal under federal law:
- For landlords, stores, restaurants and hotels to turn away LGBTQ people.
- For hospitals, colleges and adoption agencies to deny services to LGBTQ people.
- To discriminate against transgender people in restrooms.
One in five or 1,304,286 Japanese in the U.S. live in one of 30 states where they are at risk of being fired, refused housing or denied services simply because they are LGBTQ. They also have faced mistreatment at the hands of the police.
“With the Supreme Court leading the way, Congress must follow suit and pass the LGBT Equality Act. States and cities must defund the police and reinvest in communities. We must abolish ICE and restore immigrants’ rights,” said Magpantay.