Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (CBS46) – A Supreme Court case from Georgia set to be heard Tuesday could change the way courts view discrimination “because of sex” for decades to come.

The case, Bostock vs. Clayton County, first started in federal court when Gerald Bostock said he was fired, despite good performance reviews, because he was gay. Bostock, and a companion case, Altitude Express v. Zarda, claim the firings violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which makes discrimination because of sex illegal.

Bostock’s case, according to SCOTUSBlog, was originally stopped by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, but he asked the justices to review the ruling. The case for Zarda originally went his way and his employer, Altitude Express, asked for that case to also be reviewed.

Because there was a disagreement between the appellate divisions, and after a lengthy period of consideration, the Supreme Court granted both appeals, which leads to Tuesday’s arguments.

According to SCOTUSBlog.com, one friend of the court brief was filed by a group of more than 200 businesses that includes: Apple, Facebook, Uber, Walt Disney and Coca-Cola. Those businesses said ruling in favor of Bostock and Zarda would provide a consistent precedent across the country for dealing with issues of sexual orientation.

However, the Trump Administration has weighed in against Bostock and Zarda saying specifically in a brief that Title VII doesn’t cover sexual orientation:

The question here is not whether Title VII should forbid employment discrimination because of sexual orientation, but whether it already does. The statute’s plain text makes clear that it does not; discrimination because of “sex” forbids treating members of one sex worse than similarly situated members of the other— and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, standing alone, does not result in such treatment. Congress has amended other statutes expressly to cover sexual-orientation discrimination, and it remains free to do the same with Title VII. But until it does, this Court should enforce the statute as it is written.

The cases are argued before the Supreme Court on October 8, 2019.

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