Court Case Could Secure LGBT Rights In The Workplace

The case, heard Wednesday before a full panel of 7th Circuit Court judges, revolves around a South Bend, Ind., math teacher who contends she was repeatedly denied promotions and fired from the Indiana community college where she worked because she is a lesbian.

What does the case boil down to?  Many think it will be the definition of "sex."  What does that word mean today.  Does it mean the same as it did in 1964?


During arguments in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, a few judges repeatedly interrupted the school’s lawyer, who argued the word “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act — which bans workplace discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, and sex — applies only to whether a person is male or female, not their sexual orientation.

“Who will be hurt if gays and lesbians have a little more job protection?” Judge Richard Posner reportedly asked. When the attorney admitted he couldn’t think of anyone, Posner fired back again: “So, what’s the big deal? … Are we bound by what people thought in 1964?”

Hively’s lawyer pointed to a 1989 Supreme Court decision that said Title VII prohibits sex discrimination based on not conforming to gender norms, explaining how this presented an equal-rights gap for their current case: “You can’t discriminate against a woman because she has a Harley or has tattoos or has Bears tickets,” he said, “but you are told you can fire her because she is lesbian.”

If the court rules in Hively’s favor in the next several weeks, it would be the first U.S. appellate court to rule that the Civil Rights Act covers sexual-orientation discrimination.  –


The 7th Circuit panel is taking the case under advisement, but has not set a time for a ruling.  Whatever the ruling, this case may likely go to the Supreme Court, but if President Trump is able to appoint a conservative judge, then we may know how this would end.  There is hope though, no?

How many states do not offer protection for us being us?  Where in the nation should you still keep one foot in the closet when it comes to being out at work?  I'm not sure I can answer that question.  Do a simple Google search and the first three entries are:



Wait, it went up according to The Huff? The grey area is that you are and are not protected in the same state.  It all depends on your employer. Click on the image below for a larger version.



The map is still looking pretty somber.  As a positive, it does resemble where we were just about a two years ago with our marriage equality map.



What do you think?