DALLAS and WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/CBS NEWS) – The President and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber, Dale Petroskey, commended the Supreme Court for its ruling Monday that federal civil rights law protects LGBTQ workers.
The court’s 6-3 ruling extends the scope of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion, to include LGBTQ people.
In a written statement, Petroskey said, “The Dallas Regional Chamber commends today’s Supreme Court ruling that prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We work hard every day to help make the Dallas Region the best place in the United States for all people to live, work, and do business. Barring discrimination from the workplace is the right thing to do economically, and from a human rights perspective. Such protections are good for business, for workers, and for the economy. Texas has been a magnet for economic growth, and this decision further enhances our state’s ability to attract the best companies and the best workforce. Today’s landmark ruling is another big step forward in the American pursuit of equality for all under the law.”
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch, who authored the majority’s opinion, joined the liberal wing of the bench in ruling that “an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII.”
“Judges are not free to overlook plain statutory commands on the strength of nothing more than suppositions about intentions or guesswork about expectations,” Gorsuch wrote. “In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee. We do not hesitate to recognize today a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.”
The cases involving Title VII, of which there were three before the court, were the first involving LGBTQ rights to reach the justices since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018. Kennedy authored the majority opinions in all major gay rights cases decided by the court, and President Trump replaced him with, an appointment that shifted the court rightward.
The justices heard oral arguments in the legal battle over Title VII at the start of its term in October, during which Gorsuch, appointed to the high court by Mr. Trump, emerged as the likely swing vote.
Two of the three cases before the court involved gay men who said they were fired because of their sexual orientation.
Donald Zarda, who has since died, worked as a skydiving instructor in New York and argued he was fired after a woman accused him of touching her inappropriately and telling her he was gay during a tandem skydive in 2010.