The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for October 8 on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies in banning LGBTQ discrimination.
There will be three cases regarding Title VII heard that day. The crux of the cases concerns whether anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.
LGBTQ advocates say discrimination against gay people is sex discrimination because anti-gay bias is borne out of opposition to people who love others of the same sex.
A brief filed by the ACLU last week read, in part, “Firing a man because he is attracted to other men is like refusing to hire a woman because she has school-age children, failing to promote a woman because she is too ‘macho,’ or countenancing the sexual harassment of a man who is perceived by his coworkers to be vulnerable.”
Some court watchers say they are not overly-hopeful for a pro-LGBTQ ruling in light of Donald Trump’s choices for far-right leaning justices on the high court.
But Chief Justice John Roberts has, at times, surprised the LGBTQ community.
During arguments for the Obergefell decision in 2015, which made marriage equality the law of the land, Roberts made comments wondering if banning same-sex marriage would constitute a kind of sex discrimination.
In advance of the oral arguments, 206 companies have signed on to a ‘friend of the court’ brief asking SCOTUS to rule in favor of Title VII prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQs.
The list of companies includes big tech like Facebook, Apple and Adobe; food giants like Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Domino’s Pizza; also Uber, Zillow, MGM Resorts, Hilton, HSBC Bank and more.
The Human Rights Campaign reports the amicus brief has the largest number of business signers than any other brief filed in an LGBTQ discrimination case.
The brief reads, in part, “Even where companies voluntarily implement policies to prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, such policies are not a substitute for the force of law.”
“Only a uniform federal rule can enable businesses to recruit and retain, and employees to perform, at their highest levels,” says the brief.
The brief was organized by several LGBTQ advocacy groups including the Human Rights Campaign, Out & Equal, Freedom for All Americans and Lambda Legal.