On June 15, 2020, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the 6-3 opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, holding that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited under Title VII. The landmark decision is widely viewed as an historic moment in the movement for LGBTQ equality.
Don’t underestimate the enormous power of this decision. Everyone loved the marriage decisions because everyone loves love. But frankly, not everyone has any desire to get married. However, in a nation with a fraying social safety net, job security is absolutely critical to all of us, particularly those on the economic margins. In my mind, this decision is at least as important as Windsor or Obergefell.
The Bostock decision is a huge victory for legal equality in this country. It will provide a measure of security to countless LGBTQIA workers who no longer have to fear losing their jobs because of who they are or who they love. The Court’s reasoning lays the groundwork for supporting a similar interpretation of the Fair Housing Act, Title IX, and maybe even the Equal Protection Clause. It is a giant leap forward.
It is an historic opinion, perhaps the most important Title VII decision since the Court recognized hostile work environment sexual harassment in 1986. It is the result of decades of work by LGBTQI+ organizations and individuals, which included litigation, lobbying, and a great deal of direct action. It also would have been unthinkable just a decade ago. There is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure equality and fairness for all workers, but Bostock is a major step in the right direction.
For Temple Law faculty reactions to other SCOTUS decisions, click here.