Justices Spar Over Gay Employee Cases


Publish Date:
October 8, 2019
Wall Street Journal
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The Supreme Court spent two tense hours on Tuesday weighing whether the nation’s bedrock civil-rights law forbids employers from discriminating against gay or transgender employees.

The issues arrived in separate cases, but they boiled down to the same question: Does the Civil Rights Act of 1964, whose Title VII outlaws workplace discrimination based on sex, nevertheless permit employers to fire individuals because they are gay or transgender?

Under Supreme Court precedent, employers can’t discriminate against workers who don’t conform to follow sex stereotypes, for instance, effeminate men or aggressive women. Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor representing the gay men, said it followed that firing a male employee who is attracted to men while taking no action against a woman who dates men was equally impermissible. “That’s discrimination because of sex,” Ms. Karlan said.

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