What’s at stake? LGBT discrimination cases at the Supreme Court

A funeral director in Michigan fired for being transgender. A skydiving instructor in New York fired for being gay. A child welfare services coordinator in Georgia fired because of his sexual orientation.

On October 8th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear three cases that have the potential to drastically change the status of LGBT equality in the United States. We’re grateful to our legal advocates at the ACLU and Lambda Legal for all they’re doing to prepare for the arguments and to defend vital legal protections for LGBT workers.

Our team at MAP wanted to share some materials that may be helpful as you follow the cases.

It goes beyond just being fired

On face value, these cases are about whether companies can legally fire someone for being LGBT. And that’s shocking enough. But on a deeper level, the cases are about whether LGBT people will have equal opportunity or whether they may be treated as inferior citizens throughout all aspects of daily life.

What’s at stake?

This new infographic can be useful to understand what’s at stake.

These three cases will determine whether LGBT people will continue to have protections under federal nondiscrimination law, or whether it will be legal under federal law for employers to fire someone simply for being LGBT. If the Court rules that LGBT people are not protected by existing federal workplace protections, anti-LGBT opponents will rapidly use the same legal reasoning to work to attempt to overturn critical federal protections in housing, healthcare, credit, education and more.

In short, LGBTQ people could soon find themselves living in a nation where federal law says it is legal for them to be denied a job, fired, discriminated against at school, denied a loan, rejected by a doctor, and evicted from an apartment, simply because they are LGBT.

Our 2019 brief provides more information about the potential outcomes of the cases and their impacts.

The infographic below can be a helpful tool to understand the “domino” effect of a loss, where protections not only in employment, but in healthcare, education, housing, and credit could be at risk.

The infographic below shows the percentage of people by race living in states without protections who would lose federal workplace protections if the Supreme Court rules that Title VII doesn’t protect LGBT workers:

Take action

We need to be mobilizing NOW to ensure that every one of our federal and state representatives understands that passing anti-discrimination protections is an urgent and top priority.  We cannot wait for the outcome of this case to start mobilizing: every single person who is LGBT or who cares about LGBT people must engage now. 

Don’t forget: our equality maps provide a helpful picture of the existing patchwork of legal protections at the state level, and what would remain if LGBT people can no longer seek recourse through the EEOC for employment discrimination.

Together, the cases have the potential to take America backward. Now is the time to reiterate the importance of nondiscrimination for LGBT people and all people.