The current Supreme Court leans profoundly conservative, thanks in part to immoral actions by Mitch McConnell, who willfully stole a Supreme Court appointment from President Obama and then helped to nominate and approve alleged rapist Bret Cavanaugh to the bench.
This conservative slant to the court could mean a severe set back for LGBTQ rights, with many oppressive proposals sanctioned by the anti-LGBTQ Trump administration. Vice President, Mike Pence, of course, is a known homophobe who has made it a priority in his life’s work to suppress gay rights. In the past year, he has also voiced support for Trump’s ban of trans people from the military while also backing the discriminatory religious freedom initiative that allows businesses to use “God” as their justification to refuse services to gay people.
On Tuesday, October 8th, four lawsuits of alleged discrimination will be heard by the Supreme Court, including the case of Gerald Bostock from Doraville, Georgia. Bostock’s suit alleges that his former employer fired him because they disapproved of him being on a gay softball team.
Bostock had a stellar 10-year employment record as Services Coordinator for Child Welfare. A large part of his role was to recruit volunteers to help children in the court system. He was so successful at his job that the company had won awards because of his specific efforts and accomplishments. Bostock claims that all changed when some people in the office began to voice their dismay with him joining the Hotlanta Softball League, an LGBT amateur ball club.
Though he had always been open about his sexuality, Bostock claims that animosity began when he joined the baseball league through which he also found volunteers for his program. For two months after joining Hotlanta, he heard disparaging comments around the office regarding his sexuality. That situation intensified, and ultimately in 2013, as he was incidentally recovering from prostate cancer, he was fired. His job loss also resulted in the loss of his health insurance.
Bostock alleges his termination from Clayton County Youth Development and Justice Center was motivated because they did not approve of his sexuality, and he further alleges that the executives of the center created a bogus audit that focused on a dinner he organized for his volunteers. He expensed the dinner to the county, justly so, he claims, because it included actual volunteers who happened to also be on the softball team.
He was fired for “conduct unbecoming of an employee,” and escorted from the building, despite an excellent work history with no previous infractions. With the devasting loss of a job he loved, loss of income and medical insurance while fighting cancer, Bostock decided to fight back.
His suit against the county in federal court claims that his former employer violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans sex discrimination. The lower courts dismissed it, arguing that the Act does not cover sexual orientation, just gender. Finding that unacceptable, Bostock took his case to the Supreme Court, which will finally hear his case this week, along with two similar filings dealing with LGBTQ discrimination.
This week could be a landmark moment for the LGBTQ issue of discrimination and protections under the Civil Rights Act. The court’s response could end workplace discrimination for good and make it the law of the land, like gay marriage. To me, it is a no-brainer that no employer should ever be able to terminate someone’s employment because of their sexual orientation, but with the blatant harm the Trump administration is inflicting upon the gay community and with the help of his hapless conservative minions, anything could happen – for better or definitely for worse.