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Pete Buttigieg, George Takei, Hillary Clinton and more celebrate historic Supreme Court ruling against LGBT+ discrimination

Reiss Smith June 15, 2020
A man waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court.

A man waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court. (Getty/Jim Watson)

Queer leaders, politicians and allies are celebrating the historic Supreme Court ruling that employers cannot discriminate against workers for being LGBT+.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday (June 15) that a 1964 sex-based employment discrimination law also applies to cases where “an employer fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender”.

The decision extends Title VII protections to queer people in all 50 states, and marks a significant victory for LGBT+ rights.

As news broke, LGBT+ leaders, activists, celebrities and politicians celebrated the landmark decision.

Pete Buttigieg, who broke new ground as an out gay presidential candidate this year, reflected on his own experiences.

“It was only 11 years ago this summer that I took an oath and accepted a job that I would have lost, if my chain of command learned that I was gay. Firing us wasn’t just permitted—it was policy.”

He added that further protections are still urgently needed, pointing to the need for a federal Equality Act

“The struggle for equality did not end with marriage, nor did it end today. Conversion therapy persists. Black trans women are at grave risk daily. The administration is rolling back protections at every turn.”

His former opponent Elizabeth Warren echoed his words, saying: “We must keep up the pressure to ensure every LGBTQ+ person is free to be who they are without fear.”

Star Trek icon George Takei said “today marks another milestone in our struggle for equality with a victory”.

Laverne Cox said “it’s important to folks to remember that just because public policy changes it does not mean that the hearts and minds of Americans change”.

Ellen DeGeneres simply called the ruling “historic”.

Former Democratic presidential nominee, and winner of the 2016 popular vote, Hillary Clinton, called the ruling a “victory for liberty and justice for all”.

Janet Mock, the trailblazing trans writer, director and activist, called it “a victory hard won in the courts and on the streets”.

Matrix co-creator Lilly Wachowski said that she is “so used to being on the losing end of this shit, [she] had re-read that the word ‘transgender’ was actually included”.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said he was “grateful for today’s decision”.

Drag Race star Peppermint said she felt “like [she] can breathe easier in this moment”, adding: “This ruling is a major victory toward full protection. The fight continues tomorrow.”

Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness was typically pithy in his response, writing simply: “F**k yes Supreme Court.”

Trump-appointed Supreme Court judge writes LGBT+ protection ruling.

Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed by Donald Trump, wrote the court’s 6-3 ruling, explaining: “It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.

“Consider, for example, an employer with two employees, both of whom are attracted to men. The two individuals are, to the employer’s mind, materially identical in all respects, except that one is a man and the other a woman.

“If the employer fires the male employee for no reason other than the fact he is attracted to men, the employer discriminates against him for traits or actions it tolerates in his female colleague.

“Or take an employer who fires a transgender person who was identified as a male at birth but who now identifies as a female. If the employer retains an otherwise identical employee who was identified as female at birth, the employer intentionally penalises a person identified as male at birth for traits or actions that it tolerates in an employee identified as female at birth.

“Again, the individual employee’s sex plays an unmistakable and impermissible role in the discharge decision.”

More: Janet Mock, Jonathan Van Ness, peppermint, Pete Buttigieg, supreme court

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