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Historic Supreme Court Ruling: Workers Can’t Be fired For Being Gay Or Transgender

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In a devastating defeat for the Trump administration, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled 6-3 that federal civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender workers against employer discrimination.

The landmark ruling will extend protections to millions of workers nationwide, which argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that bars discrimination based on sex did not extend to claims of gender identity and sexual orientation.

A set of cases that came before the court had asked the justices to decide whether Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination on the basis of “sex,” applies to gay and transgender people.

The 6-3 opinion was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s four liberal justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids,” Gorsuch wrote.

Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas dissented from the decision.

The decision was one of the most highly anticipated of a Supreme Court term stacked with high-profile cases. It was delivered in the middle of LGBT Pride Month.

The Trump administration had weighed in on the cases, arguing on behalf of a group of employers who had been brought to court for firing their gay or transgender employees. Trump’s Department of Justice had argued that the Civil Rights Act did not cover gay or transgender employees.