BOSTON (State House News Service) — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and Gov. Charlie Baker said he was pleased to see that it was not a narrow decision of the court.
Justices ruled 6-3 in Bostock vs. Clayton County, Georgia that any "employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates" Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, extending the law's prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to sexual orientation and gender.
"I was glad to see the Supreme Court ruling. I was also glad to see that it was 6 to 3. And I think certainly here in Massachusetts -- but I would argue across the country -- it's important for people to not have their employment status jeopardized by their gender identity, their sexual persuasion, or their sex," Baker said.
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion of the majority and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Justices Samuel Alito wrote a dissent that was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote his own dissenting opinion.
"Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear," Gorsuch, nominated to the court by President Donald Trump in 2017, wrote. "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."
Baker added Monday afternoon, "The basic thrust of the court's opinion was your performance at work should be about your performance at work, period. And discriminating against somebody, not giving somebody a job, taking a job away from somebody, simply because of anything that has to do with their sex their gender identity or their sexual persuasion is against federal law, I thought that was terrific. I was glad to see it."
By Colin A. Young, State House News Service
(Photo: Getty Images)