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Supreme Court's ruling logical end to discrimination against LGBT workers, KU law expert says

Monday, June 15, 2020

LAWRENCE — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 today that federal employment discrimination laws apply to LGBT individuals, in essence ruling that they cannot be fired for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Justices Neil Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal-leaning justices to form the majority opinion in the cases Bostock v. Clayton County, Altitude Express v. Zarda and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Kyle Velte, an employment discrimination law expert at the University of Kansas School of Law, is available to speak with the media about the ruling. Velte can discuss the ruling, its effects, employment discrimination, religious liberty exemption cases, the cases the high court ruled on and related topics

“Today’s ruling is a historic milestone for LGBT Americans: Yesterday, in 28 states, an LGBT person could be fired just because they are LGBT,” Velte said. “Today, LGBT employees nationwide are protected from this invidious discrimination. Justice Gorsuch’s opinion is the logical and predictable outcome based on the court’s prior Title VII cases, one that uses the traditionally conservative-leaning ‘plain language’ approach to statutory interpretation to hold that discrimination against LGBT employees necessarily implicates biological sex. This opinion is a victory not only because it protects LGBT employees’ right to work, but also because it recognizes the dignity and humanity of LGBT people.”

Velte has studied discrimination law extensively and written amicus briefs for the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that determined same-sex marriage is legal nationwide; Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission; and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Her scholarship has examined Title IX protections and her writing has appeared in the Yale Law & Policy Review and other journals, including a recent article arguing that racial discrimination protections should be applied to LGBTQ citizens as well.

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at mkrings@ku.edu or @MikeKrings.