Federal appeals court: Civil rights laws don't protect against sexual orientation discrimination
Sexual orientation discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people can only come from the Supreme Court or Congress, the federal appeals court in Chicago rules.
This week, an appeals court ruled that sexual orientation is not a protected class under existing civil rights laws related to sex discrimination, particularly the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Only Congress or the Supreme Court can make a law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
In ruling against Hively’s claim — that sexual orientation discrimination should be barred under Title VII as a type of sex discrimination — the court, primarily, pointed to a series of rulings from the appeals court beginning in 1984 and continuing through 2000 in which the court found that anti-LGBT discrimination was not covered by Title VII.
A clearly conflicted Judge Ilana Rovner, joined by Judge William Bauer, went on for more than 40 pages, however, detailing what Rovner described as “a paradoxical legal landscape in which a person can be married on Saturday and then fired on Monday for just that act.”
Addressing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 2015 decision — backing up Hively’s position — that sexual orientation discrimination is a type of sex discrimination barred under Title VII, Rovner wrote, “The idea that the line between gender non‐conformity and sexual orientation claims is arbitrary and unhelpful has been smoldering for some time, but the EEOC’s decision … threw fuel on the flames.”
Another reason why This Election Really Matters: We need the Supreme Court and/or Congress to get moving to make it illegal for LGBT people to get “fired on Monday for getting married on Saturday.”