WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in a set of cases about firing employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity Tuesday.
It is the court's first LGBTQ rights case since Justice Kennedy's retirement.
Two cases are about discrimination based on sexual orientation. The plaintiffs are Don Zarda, a fired skydiver in New York, who has since died, and Gerald Bostock, a fired county government worker in Georgia.
The second case's plaintiff is Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who was fired from her job as a funeral home director in suburban Detroit.
Chief Justice John Roberts questioned how the outcome of the cases could impact employers with religious objections.
While Justice Elena Kagan argued sexual orientation is a part of sex discrimination.
The ACLU, which is representing Stephens and Zarda, is arguing that LGBTQ people are protected by Title VII.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects workers from discrimination based on sex.
Here’s exactly what’s happening today:— ACLU (@ACLU) October 8, 2019
The Supreme Court is being asked to make it legal to fire someone because we’re LGBTQ.
We're representing Aimee Stephens, Don Zarda — and anyone who's ever been told you're not the right "kind" of man or woman.
Lawyers for the employers argued that lawmakers, not judges, should change the law.
They focused on changes that would need to be required if LGBTQ pople were included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Rost said his family’s livelihood "hangs in the balance" as the court weighs the case.— Melissa Nann Burke (@nannburke) October 8, 2019
He blasted the ACLU for trying to “punish” his business, using it “as a pawn to achieve a larger political goal that it has been unable to achieve in Congress, where this issue belongs.”
Meanwhile, demonstrators gathered outside of The Supreme Court earlier in the morning for a rally in support of LGBTQ workers.
SCOTUS' decision would impact an estimated 8.1 million LGBTQ workers in the U.S.
Whole some states have laws protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity, more than half of the states in the U.S. allow employers to fire an someone for being gay.
A ruling on these cases isn't expected until June 2020.