CNY FAIR HOUSING CELEBRATES MOMENTOUS SUPREME COURT RULING AFFIRMING CIVIL RIGHTS OF THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY - JUNE 17, 2020
In a momentous win for LGBTQ individuals and advocates, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Title VII’s protections “because of sex” applies to gay, lesbian and transgender employees. Justice Gorsuch wrote in the decision for Bostock v. Clayton County, “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.” LGBTQ individuals face discrimination in other facets of their lives including housing, credit, education, public accommodations, federally funded programs, and jury service and as fewer than half the states currently ban discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, Monday’s decision is a major victory.
The same protections “because of sex” are written into the Fair Housing Act (Title VIII), passed as a direct result of the civil rights campaign against racial discrimination in housing including the 1966 Chicago Freedom Movement. The work of black leaders across the nation led to housing protections for people based upon not only race and color, but also, upon sex, which opened the door to these protections for people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. While this week’s decision only applies to Title VII employment protections, the Court’s interpretation of Title VII has historically influenced lower courts’ rulings on Title VIII. We believe that this week’s decision will have the same impact and create much needed housing protections for LGBTQ individuals and families, and, such fair housing claims should and will be enforced accordingly.
As an organization committed to combating systemic discrimination CNY Fair Housing will continue to work to ensure that LGBTQ Central New Yorkers have truly equal access to housing opportunity.
CNY Fair Housing is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1991, dedicated to eliminating housing discrimination, promoting open communities and ensuring equal access to housing opportunity for all people in Central and Northern New York.