EEOC Rules That Anti-Gay Workplace Discrimination Is Barred By Existing Law

Chris Geidner reports at Buzzfeed:

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that existing civil rights law bars sexual orientation-based employment discrimination — a groundbreaking decision to advance legal protections for gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers. “[A]llegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex,” the commission concluded in a decision dated July 15.

The independent commission addressed the question of whether the ban on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars anti-LGB discrimination in a complaint brought by a Florida-based air traffic control specialist against Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx.

The ruling — approved by a 3-2 vote of the five-person commission — applies to federal employees’ claims directly, but it also applies to the entire EEOC, which includes its offices across the nation that take and investigate claims of discrimination in private employment. While only the Supreme Court could issue a definitive ruling on the interpretation, EEOC decisions are given significant deference by federal courts.

The Human Rights Campaign reacts:

“Discrimination has no place in America, plain and simple,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This historic ruling by the EEOC makes clear they agree workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, much like gender identity, is illegal. While an important step, it also highlights the need for a comprehensive federal law permanently and clearly banning LGBT discrimination beyond employment to all areas of American life. Such a law would send a clear and permanent signal that discrimination against LGBT people will not be tolerated under any circumstances in this country, and we remain fully committed to making that happen.”

In a 2012 decision in Macy v. Holder, the EEOC determined that discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity is sex discrimination and thus constitutes a violation of the Civil Rights Act. EEOC rulings are not binding on federal courts, however they are persuasive. This new decision continues an important trend in the development of case law. The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on this issue. HRC continues to advocate for permanent and explicit, legislated non-discrimination protections at all levels of government for LGBT people.

Lambda Legal reacts:

“This landmark opinion from the EEOC confirms what we have long argued in our cases: discriminating against gay, lesbian and bisexual employees violates federal law. This ruling is likely to have enormous positive effects because EEOC interpretations of Title VII are highly persuasive to the courts—they tend to be predictive. Given the clarity and logic of this opinion, most courts are likely to stop simply referring to old, illogical rulings about Title VII coverage. A few may disagree, but most probably will be guided by the Commission’s straightforward approach,” said Greg Nevins, Counsel and Employment Fairness Strategist for Lambda Legal. Lambda Legal has been working for years on cases showing why Title VII, when properly understood, protects LGBT employees. This EEOC decision cites some of Lambda Legal’s recent work on this issue and it will be immensely significant in this continuing work.

While this will likely end up before the Supreme Court, it seems like today’s ruling could ultimately mean a win in the decades-long battle for Congress to pass ENDA.

  • Sam_Handwich

    Here comes ENDA

    and soon come teH sAdz

    • Cuberly
      • ExGayTherapyKills

        Wow! The good news just keeps coming.

        • Cuberly
          • KnownDonorDad

            ,,,

          • Necessitas

            God I love that!

          • Cuberly

            Yep….Ha!

          • bkmn

            You left out a Duggar-loving in the middle of his name.

          • Cuberly

            Doh! Forgot. All Perkins references come with a free Duggar.

        • Necessitas

          Good things come in threes! What’s next?

          • Maybe Valve will announce Half-Life 3!

          • Necessitas

            You could be right! OMG!

            Marriage was huge, but I didn’t cry because I knew that this task was still ahead and could be even more difficult, and having it remaining limited equal marriage. This pretty much destroys those limits and makes equal marriage truly equal.

            Now I am actually having some excessive eye moisture.

          • Paula

            Yes!! Please! We still don’t go to Ravenholm.

  • Steven Leahy

    This is a BIG deal. Almost any discrimination complaint at almost any private employer goes through EEOC anyway

    • Necessitas

      It certainly is a BIG deal. It’s absolutely monumental.

    • David Walker

      I agree. And I think I’m going to stop saying “I never thought I’d see the day when…” and change to “it’s about fucking time.” Well, maybe not that, but so much has happened…and now this.

      Do you know if this, then, means that the lack of protection in states like PA is taken care of?

  • ChitownKev

    Best. President and Administration EVAH for LGBT’s (the EEOC ruled that T’s were covered under Title VII in Obama’s first term, IIRC).
    I do think that we still need court rulings/ENDA legislation but for now…
    BRING ON THE SADZ!

    • BudClark

      There’ll be a run on Depends™ at the drug stores. The Reich wing will SHIT! (giggle)

      • Paula

        This might be the thing that gives some of them a stroke. OHHHH, this could get good.

        • Todd20036

          Not that there is anything wrong with a good stroke, mind you.

    • GC

      This is huge!!!!
      And… it’s time to ADD THE FOUR WORDS to the Civil Rights Act, to get protection in housing and in public accommodations as well.

      • Todd20036

        Yes. Well-endowed and the low-hung have been oppressed for too long!

        Do you realize the discrimination I’ve had to deal with, just for having a big penis?

        Where are my pearls and fainting couch!!!

        • People4Humanity

          I could render assistance with your conditions. Pro boner!

        • GC

          Heh!… Well, I won’t give you any unjust discrimination!

        • Joseph Miceli

          It is true, I have a preference in hiring for big juicy butts. The well endowed come second. I do discriminate.

    • JCF

      In-Coming!

      • bkmn

        Please sir, may I have some more?

    • Bryan

      Forget the sadz for a second, because this ruling makes me happy!

    • Hello!!

      What’s up? There is not major news media coverage of this!!!

      Knock, knock…

  • Reality.Bites

    I’m not normally a Debby Downer, but I suspect SCOTUS will rule in the end that if Congress had intended for the Civil Rights Act to cover sexual orientation they would have written it that way.

    • AndyinChicago

      Even if they don’t end up overturning this decision, we should still be working to get ENDA passed regardless.

      • ChitownKev

        I agree.

    • Menergy

      Yet the Supreme Court recently upheld ACA on “interpretation” of what the health care law sort of intended to mean despite awkward or perhaps unclear wording. In other words, the Civil Rights Act “could” be interpreted more inclusively or cleverly using existing wording in the Act. But of course, the Supreme Court could easily rule as you say, too. Maybe even likely! Ugh.

  • delk

    The few unexploded heads left around the bigots are about to fire up.

  • ErikDC

    “It’s been a long time coming. But tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.”

    – President-Elect Barack Obama, November 6, 2008

    It all comes back to that night. It was the tipping point. That’s why the rage on the right was so intense after Obama was elected.

    They knew it, too.

    • GC

      In some ways, Obama did betray the “hope and change” many of us wanted, in corporatist and militaristic policies.

      But there’s no question that he’s been immeasurably better than a President Rmoney would have been!

      To many in the right wing, President Obama’s unforgivable crime was and is presidenting while black.

      • Bill_Perdue

        He’s the same as Romney would have been.

    • Gene

      That is the truest and most accurate thing I have ever read on this, or any blog. you..you NAILED it. They knew it. Even before most of us did. they knew. he and his administration would change their world, and there would be no turning back.
      this will go to the SCOTUS. as currently configured, it would hold up. If we lose even one seat…it wont. the NEXT election MATTERS. It will cement these changes, or we will spend a generation with the new court trying to chip away at them.

      • David Walker

        And don’t forget that boner admitted that the republicans got together on inauguration night and agreed to thwart anything Obama would propose. They tried to stop him from the beginning…and yet he’s managed to succeed on many fronts, equality included.

        • bkmn

          And with no scandals. Even after all the IRS/Benghazi and all the other crap they have nothing but fear.

          • Nic Peterson

            I wonder if Todd Starnes’ tears taste like salted caramel or pulled pork? Maybe salted caramel covered pulled pork?

            Oh, BTW! That’s a thought experiment only. Don’t actually want to experience the flavor in person, revelling in the production is enough for me.

            I guess I just outed myself as a SADZ voyeur. Oh well, carry on….

          • ZhyKitty

            …and anger….lots and lots of anger! lol
            They’re positively foaming in their frocks over on Free Republic over this! lmao

          • StraightGrandmother

            Thanks for that info Miss Kitty, I depend on you to do the reconnaissance & report back. That makes me so happy, frothing huh? Foaming at the mouth? Love it 😉

          • ZhyKitty

            LOL *bows* Yes mam, they are losing ground by the day and the screaming, wailing, and foaming at the mouth has reached new heights of delirious, delectable schadenfreude, such as I shall likely never see again in such abundance in this lifetime.
            I shall soon need a gastric bypass to recover from my gluttonous consumption of right wing sadz and hysteria. Oh, the JOY!!!!

            BTW: Excellent shut down of that conservative nutbag on twitter “I won’t be sucked down your abortion hole”.
            I spilled coffee all over my nightgown, laughing! (In my mind’s eye, you said that while hitting him with your purse.)

          • People4Humanity

            You kids and your Tweeting! Str8Grandmother got me hooked on it.

          • dwieboldt

            kitty, you are a national treasure!

          • People4Humanity

            Thanks for taking one for the team, ZhyKitty, viewing the Freeper web site.
            My MacBook Pro may not have sufficient malware protection.

      • Bill_Perdue

        This is not a democracy and elections don’t matter. Money matters.

        “A new scientific study from Princeton researcher Martin Gilens and Northwestern researcher Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.

        Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often. It’s beyond alarming.

        As Gilens and Page write, ‘the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.’ In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.” http://mic.com/articles/87719/princeton-concludes-what-kind-of-government-america-really-has-and-it-s-not-a-democracy

        my underlining

    • JCF
    • Bring It!

      Ok, Bill Perdue, you bitch. Whatcha gotta say now you whining no-action…

      • Joseph Miceli

        LOL, I haven’t heard hide nor hair of Trolita in forever. Please, we are better off with her on vacay!

        • vorpal

          It could be dead for months and nobody would notice. Even its own mother refuses to go down to the basement to check on it because of the overwhelming stench of contempt and rejection.

          • Joseph Miceli

            Well…not quite that bad. I’m sure she’d go down there just to hang a Damp Rid and a Glade air freshener hangup at the least.

          • Reality.Bites

            She could also be too old to handle the stairs. Bill has bragged about how long he’s been working for workers’ rights (without having a single thing he can actually point to), so I’m assuming mom would be well into her 80s.

          • vorpal

            Or maybe she killed herself after birthing such a vile abomination so long ago!

          • BlueberriesForMe

            I’m pretty sure he is in his early 70’s.

          • Bill_Perdue

            Oops, I must have offended Bibi the racist, aka, billbear the zionist.

        • GC

          Calling him “her” is wrong. Even for the vilest, most despicable troll. [ETA: Even for the most rabid anti-gay national activist.] Even if it’s only intended to get his goat, it perpetuates the idea that women are “less than” men.

          We — who know the pain and injustice of those archaic, traditional, straight-and-narrow boxes of what “real men” and “real women” “should” be like — should know better!

          • Bill_Perdue

            Your allies regularly internalize their homophobia and are woman haters. Good luck with that.

          • Joseph Miceli

            In almost any other circumstance I’d agree with you…but here you are wrong. I long ago told Bill that his screeds of illogical, incoherent abuse reminded me of a five year old girl throwing a tantrum. Combine that with his penchant for living under a bridge and you get his name, “Trolita.” Calling him by a female pronoun is not meant to cast aspersion on him by identifying him with a female. There is NOTHING wrong with being female. There IS something wrong with behaving like a five year old sociopathic Veruca Salt with verbal diarrhea. The female pronoun in this case refers to his childishness, not his femininity.

          • GC

            I agree about his illogical abuse! Having words put in my mouth, being called “politically bankrupt and ignorant”, and having “my allies” called “internalized homophobes” and “woman haters”, doesn’t predispose me to give him much consideration, to say the least.

            There is NOTHING wrong with being female. There IS something wrong with behaving like a five year old sociopathic Veruca Salt with verbal diarrhea.

            Exactly! And boys and girls can be exasperatingly childish!

          • Joseph Miceli

            Ah! I see you’ve made our beloved Trolita’s acquaintance. Here, I have a picture of her for you….

          • Bill_Perdue

            Democrats are the enemy. Especially those dummies who think that the Supremes aren’t slimy politicians just like the Clintons, the Bushes and Obama.

            Republicans are just as bad.

            If self loathers like Micelli are your allies then it’s no wonder that you losers lost in 2010 and 2014.

          • Joseph Miceli

            Dahrling, I don’t self-loathe, I loathe YOU!
            There, glad to have cleared that up for you.
            Now, I’d like you to look up a funny word explains why we lost in 2010 and 2014…”gerrymandering.” Now, when you can talk about that like an adult, you may be admitted back to the big people table.

          • Bill_Perdue

            You’e a self loathing swine who hates gay men and all women. The only thing you really like is DOMA.

          • Joseph Miceli

            Yes, I hate myself. Oh woe is me! ( presses back of hand to forehead) I wish I could be as incisive, eloquent, and vigilant as YOU, Trolita. Then everyone would respect me as much as they do you!

          • Bill_Perdue

            Self loathers are despicable.

          • Joseph Miceli

            Vote Chelsea Manning!!!

        • Bill_Perdue

          You just don’t read.

          • Joseph Miceli

            Trolita!!!! I’m so glad you are still with us! Tell us all how both parties are the same and that we should all write in “Chelsea Manning” on every ballot.

          • Bill_Perdue

            DOMA lover is a pig.

          • Joseph Miceli

            Tell us how both parties are the same so we can all point at you and laugh even more at you than we already do, my little Trolita!

          • Bill_Perdue

            Self loather squeals for us/

          • Joseph Miceli

            Here’s the dance remix, just for you!!!!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pk4iYgcC88

          • Joseph Miceli

            …and you are my little Trolita! Moochas Smoochas!

          • Bill_Perdue

            Self loather squeals for us.

          • Joseph Miceli

            Chelsea Manning for President!!!!!!

      • Any Day Now

        Hey Bill. Knock, knock. R u there?

        • People4Humanity

          You silly thing!

        • vorpal

          If you had thrown a “Who pays this pig?” in that graphic, I might have thought it was actually him posting!

          • Bill_Perdue

            Hi Vorpal the pig.

          • vorpal

            How nice to see that you haven’t yet drowned in your own filthy stupidity or killed yourself from abject loneliness! Yay for more JMG comic relief for some time to come!

          • Bill_Perdue

            Racist pig is back. Ewwwe.

          • vorpal

            You should speak more highly of yourself, Bill. Self-esteem can be learned.

        • Bill_Perdue

          Hi Vopal the pig.

        • Bill_Perdue

          Hi Vorpal.

      • Gene

        probably the only thing he EVER does…just rehash the same, same, same, same tired “democrats did not get rid of ENDA when they controlled congress and Bill signed it” blah, blah, blah….which, is true, but, it UTTERLY ignores that the Democratic party, like so many Americans, has since changed, and if Clinton has spent capital (bravely) to veto it, it would have REALLY cost him, and it had passed by veto proof majorities in any case. But, for all the bluntness of what I just wrote, go easy on him folks 1) he is our GLBT brother. 2) If I spent my life pushing a party that not 1/10th of 1% of the nation had taken to, I would be bitter/.in denial also. and he truly MEANS to work to help the underdog. But, he only shows up to be a fly in the ointment…never to celebrate anything like this. Its more sad than anything.

        • Reality.Bites

          He doesn’t go easy on any of us. For all that he’s (supposedly) a GLBT brother, he spews hate on all LGBT people who don’t accept his ludicrous views as gospel.

          • Bill_Perdue

            A workers state will automatically take back the riches stolen by banksters and make them get productive jobs. Boo!

          • Bill_Perdue

            Class differences trump everything, bankster.

        • Bud Evans

          Did you mean “DOMA” instead of “ENDA”?

        • Bill_Perdue

          Democrats and their shills are the enemy of working people. So are Republicans.

        • dwieboldt

          Wise!

      • People4Humanity

        Now, now. No need to wake a Boinking Pelican!

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=077iFu5Ax-c

        • Bill_Perdue

          Typical Obot trash talking. They do it because they’re too dumb to make political comments.

          • vorpal

            There is no point to talking politics with someone who is a s politically retarded such as you, Bull. Kisses!

          • Bill_Perdue

            You’ve never talked politics in your life, piglet. All you’ve ever done is make rabid personal comments when Bibi asks.

          • vorpal

            I’ve talked politics plenty. I don’t generally try to engage raging fucking idiot loony freaks in rational discussions, though: I prefer to use you for comic relief. Aren’t you glad to know that you DO serve SOME useful purpose?

          • Bill_Perdue

            Rational discussion from a right wing racist slug like you is not possible.

          • Joseph Miceli

            You Obot! How dare you say Trolita is politically retarded! You’ll hurt her feelings. Trolita is politically differently abled. She’s “special.”
            C’mon, give her some credit. Trolit tries REAL HARD!!!!

          • Bill_Perdue

            Insults by racists and self loathers don’t bother anyone. It comes wit5h the territory, DOMA lover.

          • Joseph Miceli

            OOOOOhhhh, this is new. Now I’ve graduated to “racist.” I’m already a gay “homophobe,” “ex-gay,” “DOMA lover” and now I’m a “racist.” Enlighten me as to what twisted paths your brain has rationalized that particular sobriquet?

          • vorpal

            It’s so cute that it thinks that its little silly forays into name-calling hurt our big bad gay feeewings.

            I think that Bill needs a L-OBOT-OMY.

      • Bill_Perdue

        Another Obot lies.

    • anne marie in philly

      RAMEN!

    • JT

      He’s certainly been moving on gay rights in the last couple of years. Perhaps it’s not only due to a feeling about justice but also to regret that he held off so long on same sex marriage.

      • Todd20036

        Considering it took Joe Biden’s public admittance to say he was for equality for Obama to finally admit it himself, he may have wanted to make up for lost time.

        • JT

          I think that was probably planned as a way to lead to Obama’s announced change. I think they saw the poll numbers and thought it was time to make the move. And the move did a lot of good, there’s no doubt about that. It’s just that it could have come sooner.

      • StraightGrandmother

        It sure took him long enough to issue that non discrimination executive order, didn’t it? But he finally did.

    • Todd20036

      So is this ENDA, without the ENDA?

      • canoebum

        Not quite. It’s a big step forward, but with a difference. If ENDA passed, it would be law, and all employers would have to post information regarding the non-discrimination requirements along with the other state and Federal workplace notices. With this ruling, an aggrieved employee would have to file a claim, which would work its way through the process to an eventual win. But that process could be long and difficult.

        • StSean

          ooOOOooh! good news for me! bad news for my employer!!

        • StraightGrandmother

          Actually this is a good idea! The EEOC should post a rule that employers have to add sexual orientation & gender identity onto their posted policies. Why not? This would REALLY rub salt in the haters wounds and the posting in lunch rooms would be very effective in changing the culture even more.

    • Gerry Fisher

      There was an interesting article on Obama on a political blog recently. It mentioned that he’s had a string of victories this spring/summer, when people were writing the obits of his Presidency last fall. Later in the article, I think it was David Axelrod who said, “These victories were the culmination of long-term commitment and work.”

      Obama didn’t just wake up in May and say, “Gee, I think I’ll do some Legacy Making things today!”

      On election night ’08, I said to the husband that the top priority is to keep him alive. We’ve already done the Civil Rights Martyr thing; we don’t need another. Priority 2 is that he needs to do his job well. If those things happen, it will smack our opponents down hard. (My “keep him alive!” desire is still very much active.)

    • Bill_Perdue

      Under Obama ENDA passage was sabotaged in 2009-2010. Democrats never vote for ENDA when it has a chance of being enacted.

      Voting for Democrats won’t bring us ENDA, fighting for ENDA will.

      • allen

        Listening to you won’t bring us ENDA either. You’re sapping our strength Perdue.

        • Bill_Perdue

          Poor, poor Vorpal.

          Strength?

          Democrats are losers, as in the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014. They’re anti-gay as in gutting ENDA in 2007 and refusing to pass it in 2009 and 2010.

      • ErikDC

        I understand your criticism, but the Democrats did move 2 of our top 3 legislative priorities through Congress that term — The Matthew Shepard Act and DADT repeal, with ENDA being missed. While we all would have preferred a 3 for 3 record, significant advancements were made. That Congress also confirmed 2 of the 5 Supreme Court Justices that made up the majority in both Windsor and Obergefell.

        Simply put, there was never a better term for gay rights than the 111th Congress.

        • Bill_Perdue

          Of all the measures passed ENDA and repealing Bill Clintons DOMA were most important.

          The hate crimes bill is very weak and not aimed at cults and politicians who promote violence. It was passed only after the 2009 anti-Obama March for Equality, a march opposed by most LGBT Democrats. Given that it was very large and militant and it caused a lot of pants wetting in the WH and Congress who quickly pushed it through.

          DADT repeal was good as an equal workplace bill but it’s main effect and it’s desired effect was to create more cannon fodder. Since it passed Obama has attacked, invaded or continued US aggression in almost a dozen countries.

          We need ENDA or a CRA and we’ll have to fight just as long and as hard as we did for marriage.

          • ErikDC

            We’re not going to agree.

            I’d caution that history, as it will be written, is unlikely to agree with you, either.

          • Bill_Perdue

            If DemocratsRepublcians write it it’ll be a travesty. Thank thor for the internet.

  • BudClark

    WOW! This is GINORMOUS!!

    • Craig S

      To borrow the famous words of Joe Biden “this is a big fucking deal”

    • Gene

      conservative sites are already going apeshit crazy over it…..its….LOVELY 😉

      • Joseph Miceli

        I think I’ll just go on over to Breitbart and see how they’re doing.:)

        • People4Humanity

          Oo0°h ~~ take pictures!

        • Bill_Perdue

          That’s where DOMA lovers belong .

          • Joseph Miceli

            Both parties are the same. Elections don’t matter. Vote labor. If no labor candidate exists write in Chelsea Manning!
            Trolita, my little angel, you make me laugh!

          • Joseph Miceli

            Arent’ you happy that you can get married and the Obama EOC just decided that existing law protects gays from discrimination. Of course, if McCain or Romney were president we’d have made the same progress because it doesn’t matter who gets elected.

          • Bill_Perdue

            A thoroughgoing self loather, you voted against marriage equality and for DOMA. Why do you care what anyone gay thinks about marriage or employment equality.

          • Joseph Miceli

            Trolita you have seen the depths of my soul, my little cuddlykins!!! Yes, I loathe all homosexuals and I feel that marriage is between one man and Chelsea Manning. Remember, it doesn’t matter who you marry, they are all the same.
            Or you could just admit you were wrong. It DOES matter that you vote and who you vote for.
            Such a pretty little thing. You should have stayed under your bridge, my little love!

          • Bill_Perdue

            Keep it short or you’ll be late chairing your ex-gay meeting.

          • Joseph Miceli

            I’ll admit it. As an ex-gay I’ve failed. I spent all of .00025 microseconds thinking about vagina and then I lapsed. Oh Chris Hemsworth, I just can’t quit you (and your beefy ass!) But Trolita, little girls shouldn’t be subjected to such things. Go play with Mr. Bear. He’s got the tea set out.

      • Reality.Bites

        Of course they hate the fact that there are ANY employment protections for anyone, so this is especially galling.

        • Bill_Perdue

          As it must be for banksters like you.

    • Bill_Perdue

      It’s good but we still need to fight for ENDA or a CRA.

  • Necessitas

    I was just telling someone here yesterday that we’d have this within 400 days, but I never expected it this fast or by this route.

    This pretty much means we are FULL first-class citizens!

    • DonnaLee

      Just the idea of it is giving me chills! This is like the home run with the first pitch from a rookie player.

      • People4Humanity

        I would amend your baseball analogy —
        … and the bases were loaded!

        • DonnaLee

          Too true.

  • Carlton

    Rubbish. This is an agency ruling on an issue of statutory interpretation. It is not going to get more than minimal deference from the courts. A plaintiff or EEOC would have to show that it was Congress’s intent in 1964 to protect gays and give them a right to sue in federal court, at a time when 49 states made gay sex a felony and the federal government itself discriminated against gays, and that Congress did so without ever mentioning sexual orientation during the legislative process. Won’t survive judicial scrutiny.

    • Sam_Handwich

      the basis of the ruling, as i understand it, is on gender discrimination grounds.

      • Sam_Handwich

    • ChitownKev

      The ruling was made under sex discrimination laws. Let’s go to the pertinent provision of Title VII.

      k) The terms “because of sex” or “on the basis of sex” include, but are not limited to, because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment-­related purposes, including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs, as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work, and nothing in section 2000e-2(h) of this title [section 703(h)] shall be interpreted to permit otherwise. This subsection shall not require an employer to pay for health insurance benefits for abortion, except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term, or except where medical complications have arisen from an abortion: Provided, That nothing herein shall preclude an employer from providing abortion benefits or otherwise affect bargaining agreements in regard to abortion.

      • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

        I believe it is rather:

        UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES

        SEC. 2000e-2. [Section 703]

        (a) Employer practices

        It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer –

        (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or

        (2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

        http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm

        • ChitownKev

          Correct, I think this falls under the 1972 law which amended Title VII to include this

    • Necessitas

      85% of Americans believed (so neat to use the past tense here) we already had these protections. SCOTUS or
      any other court would be very unwise to trample on this, the public backlash would be instant and intense.

      When it comes to employment, the VAST majority of Americans understand what is fair and what is not, and they care very deeply about these matters, it cuts across political and ideological lines. If anything unites most Americans it’s this.

  • BearEyes

    Good news and I wondered how long it would be before title vii included orientation under the category of sex.
    Though it still highlights the need to add the 4 words so the next administration doesn’t stack the deck against us at Justice.

    • clay

      The butch lesbians, the drag queens, the sissies, the fairies, the crunchy granola chicks, the trans-men, the trans-women, the gender queer already knew it should.

      All the alpha men and lipstick lesbians, the wingnuts hated you just as much, because homosexuality is a transgression of the wingnuts’ gender ideals even if you play sports or wear a dress.

  • geoffalnutt

    This is truly monumental!!!!!! The sadz (because of this) will be truly monumental, too. Hooray!!!

    • KnownDonorDad

      You’d think I’d be spoiled by the post-Obergefell sadz, but I’m totally not. Bring it on! And more to the point, congratulations to the entire LGBT community!

      • People4Humanity

        I would caution you to be mindful of your Schadenfreude consumption levels.
        Other than that, Party ON!

  • Ed Burrow
  • Jim

    God, or whoever, I F’ing love my President and the atmosphere of acceptance he has fostered for us! I’m crying. This is a big deal!

    • KnownDonorDad

      Come on now, President Romney would have done the same thing. *runs and hides*

      • GC

        Don’t worry, someone will post about Democrats’ crimes and how that makes the two major parties “exactly the same”, in 3, 2, 1…

        • JCF

          Say “Illbay Erduepay” and he will appear. :-0

        • Bill_Perdue

          The two parties refuse to pass ENDA and that’s why Democrat/Republicans like them.

          That and their wars, union busting and attacks on Medicare.

  • Jeff D

    Pastor Manning reacts:
    The government is forcing me to have sex with satanic sodomites because it won’t let me discriminate against who I have sex with.
    (snark)

  • KnownDonorDad

    What still floors me is that ENDA is considerably more popular than marriage equality, but marriage equality got to the finish line first. I imagine it’s because marriage equality fought a blanket ban related to a basic pursuit of happiness, while ENDA is for situations where an employer is a big enough a-hole to fire someone for being gay. So now the anti-gay forces have to rally against something even more accepted by the general public…oh, the sadz to come.

  • crewman

    From the ruling:

    When an employee raises a claim of sexual orientation discrimination under VII, the question is not whether sexual orientation is explicitly listed in Title VII as a prohibited basis for employment actions. It is not. Rather, the question for purposes of Title VII coverage of a sexual orientation claim is the same as any other Title VII case involving allegations of sex discrimination — whether the agency has “relied on sex-based considerations” or “take[n] gender into account” when taking the challenged employment actions.

    • crewman

      And:

      Congress may not have envisioned the application of Title VII to these situations. But as a unanimous Court stated in Onacle v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc., “statutory prohibitions often go beyond the principal evil [they were passed to combat] to cover reasonably comparable evils, and it is ultimately the provisions of our laws rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed.”

      • billbear1961

        Excellent!

        Beautiful!

      • Necessitas

        Exactly, the SPIRIT of the law is what matters, not it’s wording.

        • Reality.Bites

          I agree, but I suspect this is an issue where Kennedy would side with his fellow conservatives

          • billbear1961

            He understands the argument, and that, if he agrees with the fascists on the Court, he’ll be saying YES to naked discrimination.

            This may cut against the grain: he has been a champion of gay rights, so far.

            EDIT: Look how he just ruled on the ACA case, RB!

          • ChitownKev

            “There are some 40,000 children in California … that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important in this case, don’t you think?” He subsequently observed in his United States v. Windsor majority opinion that the federal ban on same-sex marriage “humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples.” Put differently, while same-sex parents don’t hurt children, prohibitions on same-sex marriage do.”

            Let’s read Kennedy’s opinions very carefully for clues though…it does seem that he’s leaning toward the same side that he was on in the marriage cases.

            http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2015/04/supreme_court_gay_marriage_questions_answered_children_sex_discrimination.2.html

    • Necessitas

      Thanks for this! It’s always been obviously the case, but now the federal government understands it to be so.

  • BobSF_94117

    No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. We need a law based on sexual orientation.

    • Steven Leahy

      I agree with you in that I would like to see a law explicitly protecting sexual orientation and gender identity, but this puts us a lot closer to that.

      • billbear1961

        Precisely!

      • BobSF_94117

        I think it makes ENDA less likely.

        • uhhuhh

          ENDA cannot be any less likely than the 0% chance it has now. Sad but true.

          Because of gerrymandering, Republicans will control the U.S. House for years to come. In any event, our activists have become so precious and purist that they’d already killed ENDA because they refuse to make any compromise to get moderate Republican votes.

    • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

      A lot of our victories, in the US and in other jurisdictions were won in the absence of explicit mention of sexual orientation or gender identity in the appropriate laws or charters of rights. Yes, explicit mention is better, but it is not essential, as we have seen, on our path to equality. In a way, equating gay rights with human rights make our claims more universal.

      • BobSF_94117

        In other jurisdictions, yes, and in state courts and federal courts and even federal circuit courts, yes, but not where it counts. I’d love to see a SCOTUS decision that puts an end to discrimination, but we didn’t get one.

    • uhhuhh

      Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.

      Besides, if the courts accept this interpretation, Title VII is better than ENDA in its coverage.

      In any event, we aren’t getting any federal bill through Congress for many years, given the gerrymandering of the U.S. House to keep Republicans in control.

      This is actually about the only thing that might make ENDA move. If it starts to look as though SCOTUS will uphold this decision, that would motivate some Republicans to deal on ENDA in order to block our coverage under Title VII before the Court rules.

      • BobSF_94117

        I’m sorry, but I can’t even use the word “good” to describe this ruling. It’s gross overreach on its face and will result in years of litigation that will now be about sex discrimination, something entirely different from what gay people actually face .

        • uhhuhh

          It’s easy to say that with strong state and local bans in SF. The South Carolina factory worker who gets protected from vicious harassment by this ruling doesn’t have time for that kind of hair-splitting philosophizing.

          I don’t agree with you anyway. It’s not entirely different. It is race discrimination under Title VII to discriminate against an employee for having or wanting an interracial relationship. By extension, it’s sex discrimination to discriminate against an employee for having or wanting a same-sex relationship.

          • BobSF_94117

            Only my online name lives in SF.

            It is different. Your example of interracial marriage is closer, but it still requires a really particular analysis to decide that the reason you fired me for being gay is that I might have sex with another man, instead of with a woman.

            The big problems with these administrative decisions are 1) the “ooops we never noticed this in the last 40 years, but you’re protected!” and 2) administrative decisions can be easily reversed.

            Not to mention nothing for housing, nothing for public accommodation. Their hearts are in the right place, but the EEOC should shut up. All they’ve done is create a distractions and more confusion.

  • Jeffrey

    What an amazing time to be alive. Hubs and I were in DC last week and really just feeling extra proud to be americans. The feeling continues.

  • billbear1961
  • Homo Erectus

    Let the howling begin…………..

  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

    That’s just a beginning, I’m afraid, but still a superb beginning. It will keep the forces of evil busy trying to fight this in court, and leave the marriage SCOTUS decision alone, to concentrate their resources on their new culture war.

    • KnownDonorDad

      My fear was that, with the marriage battle lost, they would redouble their attack on history and science. Now, it seems they may shift their attention to “religious liberty.”

      • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

        Religious liberty is also the theme of their issues with history and science.

        • KnownDonorDad

          Excellent point. They try to appeal to fairness in science, and if people haven’t read up a bit on what they’re trying to push, it seems like an attractive proposition.

        • billbear1961

          “Religious liberty” is their strident call in their endless and MAD war on FACTS and REASON, on critical thinking itself!

          It is TIME–long since time–they were taken to task for their war on enlightened civilization and modernity.

          They may believe whatever NONSENSE they like–but there is no reason for SANE people to treat that which is offensive to reason–and often offensive to decency–as though it deserved respect or serious consideration.

          It’s time to treat ancient superstitions and backwards attitudes that HURT people–and children–like the dangerous BULLSHIT they are!

          To base laws on pure and arbitrary fabrication that contradicts what critical thinking and careful study of REALITY shows us to be true and advisable has, like ancient and barbaric curses and punishments, NO PLACE in a modern, humane and RATIONAL society.

          It is time to say so, RELENTLESSLY, before the world’s fanatics convert the entire planet into an insane asylum and one vast TORTURE CHAMBER in the name of their power-mad and bloodthirsty “god.”

          • vorpal

            You are awesome and in top form as always, mon ourson! It is always a delight to find your comments!

          • billbear1961

            Salut, minou!

            You’re back home safely, yes?

            Did you recover from your cold and enjoy your time in Europe?

            We hope so very much that you did!

            (Thank you for the very kind compliments! It’s so good to see you!)

          • vorpal

            Oh no! I’m still here in Holland. Leaving for France tomorrow morning, and then Italy on Tuesday! I’ll be home the following Monday, so much of the trip looms ahead of me!

            My cold is mostly better. I still have a tiny bit of a cough, but otherwise, I am well and back to my usual ornery self instead of my sick, extra ornery self haha!

            How are you doing, mon cher ourson? Having a good week, I hope?

          • billbear1961

            Hope you’ll see everything you can, minou!

            Ornery? Tu es le minou de la Liberté! La bonne guerre n’est pas finie!!

          • vorpal

            Haha il y’a beaucoup des raisons pourquoi tu es un de mes gens favoris!

      • billbear1961

        But they’re changing the meaning of that from “free to believe what you want” to “free to impose what you believe on others, free to use it to violate, in the public square, the rights of those you hate.”

        • PLAINTOM

          I have had that argument with people and I could never find the right words. You nailed it !

        • KnownDonorDad

          Absolutely, Bill; their definition was always about using religion as a way to circumvent the law.

        • Steven Leahy

          They have simply NEVER had their dominion questioned throughout American history, and they absolutely don’t know how to handle not calling all the shots anymore.

          • billbear1961

            That’s right: the notion that they’ll be just one group among many is simply appalling to them.

            Too goddamned bad!

            EDIT: And they fear they’ll be persecuted as THEY have persecuted OTHERS.

            This is the unwitting admission of the right-wing “Christian’s” guilty conscience!

    • BlueberriesForMe

      “I can not BELIEVE this ACTIVIST ‘commission’ is PERSECUTING our religious liberties which are DEEPLY held and SO sincere! This is an OUTRAGE and send $ now before End Times arrives Next Week!!!!111! ”
      Love, Brown$hirt

    • canoebum

      This ruling could put the brakes on “married on Friday, fired on Monday”, which remains a real danger in many states. (Although for most people I suspect it would be “married on Friday, fired two weeks later after the honeymoon cruise”).

      • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

        Let’s hope it puts the brakes… at least, it will provide a strong basis for any further court action… as will inevitably have to happen.

  • Randy

    wow! Didn’t see that one coming. And I’m sure Tony didn’t either! What a great summer this is shaping up to be.

  • Necessitas

    Since it is barred by EXISTING law, a lot of people who’ve been discriminated against in the PAST may actually have legal recourse.

    • billbear1961

      Yes!

      More than they have had until now!

      Justice is abroad in the land, and, with her, Hope!

      • Necessitas

        That’s another reason why this is such a monumental thing, it doesn’t only look forward but back as well. Old wrongs could be righted! Employers who have done some pretty miserable things to to people in the past might just be held accountable for their actions.

        This is why it’s a good idea to always try to treat others fairly!

    • uhhuhh

      Except that there’s a 300-day statute of limitations for filing a complaint.

  • Queequeg

    Stay away from Teabagistan. You could get shrapnel from all those exploding heads.

    • LonelyLiberal

      Free bone meal calcium for the lawn and garden!

      • Steven Leahy

        it’s tainted

        • Hue-Man

          Bovine spongiform encelphalopathy

        • LonelyLiberal

          Steam it to remove any possibility of contamination.

  • ChitownKev

    and this also affects the question of legal scrutiny.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermediate_scrutiny

    • JustSayin’

      Kev, in a general sense it does but until a case reaches SCOTUS and they interpret things like the EEOC says and declare a level of scrutiny besides rational basis, it is not a done deal.

      Notice that even in giving us marriage they side stepped declaring scrutiny, this is telling that it might be a huge challenge particularly if the case contains a valid religion claim. Say a catholic senior home that kicked an elder gay out because he is gay.

      The church runs many private senior facilities so it gets a little complex.

      • ChitownKev

        And the church would technically have a higher level of scrutiny, I believe that religious based stuff is covered under strict scrutiny.
        I do think that when (and I think that it is a when and not an if) this reaches SCOTUS, they won’t be able to dodge the scrutiny issue.

  • JT
  • Hal Watts

    How will this ruling affect religious institutions, like the Catholic Church, that fire LGBT people for being gay or getting married?

    • garygdw

      It won’t affect them any more than it did yesterday,

    • clay

      The Roman Catholic Church can fire people for being female, so no, clearly Title VII does not include them.

  • garygdw

    Using this logic it would also apply to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Federal Fair Housing Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, And, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

  • LonelyLiberal

    Dayam…. Marriage to, effectively, ENDA in 2 weeks?

    Just. Fuck. Yes.

    • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

      This is more limited than ENDA at this stage of the game. I believe this administrative tribunal has limited jurisdiction. It would have to go through the courts to have a more extended application, unless I’m wrong.

      • LonelyLiberal

        I’ll take it. It’s still an order of magnitude better than what we had this morning.

      • uhhuhh

        Yes, you’re right in that respect.

        If SCOTUS accepts this interpretation, however, Title VII has better coverage and stronger provisions than ENDA.

        • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

          Interestingly, during the Obergefell oral arguments, Roberts seemed very interested in the sex/gender discrimination angle (in the due process arguments). Perhaps that would be an indication of where he stands on the sex/gender argument.

    • JT

      Wingnuts would see that as: Marriage to, effectively, END in 2 weeks.

  • JCF
  • Steven B

    So if they are saying the protection was there all along, does that mean a person could go and retroactively file and EEOC complaint?

    • bambinoitaliano

      I cannot imagine the avalanche of retroactive lawsuits being file after this.

    • uhhuhh

      Only back 300 days. That’s the statute of limitations for filing a charge. The discrimination or harassment would have to have continued into the last 300 days for a charge filed tomorrow to be valid.

      • KnownDonorDad

        What an odd number, you’d think they’d just make it a year.

    • JustSayin’

      They still would have to prove their case and any reliable witness testimony is likely stale unless they had previously filed or gotten a lawyer to begin the process.

      Most people will not risk their job for someone who is long gone from the company

      • clay

        unless there was retaliation after their complaint, that gives them another 300 days, more incentive, and an easier case to win.

  • TheManicMechanic

    Wow, all the good news keeps coming. Our two weeks in PTown keep getting better. 😉

    • David Walker

      Party on, TMM!

  • Dreaming Vertebrate

    Winning is fun!
    (Sucks to be Maggie!)

    • uhhuhh

      She can’t. Sucking isn’t procreative, so she’s not allowed.

      • Steven Leahy

        There very thought of the visual here is frightening anyway!

      • clay

        I believe Maggie is known for sucking crisps in public.

  • TampaZeke

    This is as big a deal as the marriage equality ruling because it probably affects more people. We now need the courts to put their stamp of approval on it.

    SUCK IT again Republicans! We get things done WITHOUT your support and without your votes!

  • David Milley

    Well, this should get their minds off of marriage …

    • JCF

      …but not out of the gutter.

  • Joseph Miceli

    ENDA by the backdoor….well, we ARE gay, aren’t we?
    🙂

  • bkmn

    I hope the powers that be at the DNC look at this and understand that progressive causes are WINNING causes.

    • Doug105

      They may have soaked up too many displaced RINO’s, now known as blue dogs.

  • Sporkfighter

    . . .

    • People4Humanity

      Gee, willikers, Batman!

  • Brian in Valdosta

    In 1999 I was living in Sacramento, CA, and working at the Human Rights / Fair Housing Commission. After two years I had become quite conversant in tenant-landlord law as well as small claims issues, and the legal interns and I would sit around discussing legal theory and legal decisions with two of the staff attorneys. One day I proposed my legal opinion to one of the staff attorneys (the nice one), saying that anti-LGBT discrimination was essentially sex discrimination and therefore should already be considered illegal under existing law.

    He mulled it over briefly and said he thought it was brilliant, that he agreed completely.

    The other staff attorney (the ass) scoffed at the idea.

    I am very glad to see that my humble legal opinion has been vindicated and supported. I hope this goes all the way to the Supreme Court. I would love to rub it in the face of that asshole staff attorney.

    • Menergy

      Bravo!

  • bkmn

    Tonight Antonin Scalia choked a bit on his own spittle. I celebrated.

  • Mark

    This is going to be a good one for the wingers to cry about as it deals specifically with discrimination – with absolutely no mention or exception for ‘sincerely held religious belief’. Discrimination is discrimination – with or without a pesky sky fairy.

  • Most Americans think this is already the law. A sizable majority favors such a law. So why isn’t it the law? Oh right, the religious right and the Republicans that kiss their asses.

  • Paul

    I’m not feeling the celebratory mood. I mean, this whole concept is based on quicksand. I mean, if I employ a straight man, a lesbian woman, and a straight woman, and I fire the lesbian, does that make me a misogynist? Based on the circumstances, I’d think such an action would be anti-gay, but…

    Hopefully this gets resolved within the next few years.

    • JustSayin’

      All hiring, firing and workplace claims depend on the circumstances in that particular case. If you fired the lesbian for a valid reason, like she did not do her job or showed up stoned and you documented things properly, then no you are absolutely in the clear.

      If however you get in a snitt with her and say something stupid like you lazy dyke your fired, and do it in front of people, then you are deservedly screwed.

      • Paul

        I’m talking about the discriminatory reason for the firing. If I keep the straight woman but can the lesbian, my motive seems to be more orientation-based than gender-based. Well, I guess the EEOC thinks differently.

        This is why we need to add “the four words” ASAP.

  • This ought to be greeted with a flourish of gay trumpets, but I couldn’t find a youtube clip of Le Fanfare Gai. Still, as it is is the finale of Mouret’s Sinfonie de Fanfares of 1729, I think the opening Rondeau can stand in for it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZQG-DZy7uY

  • JustSayin’

    At a minimum the 5th and posibbly the 6th circuits won’t agree so hopefully the 9th or 1st circuit gets the first case. A win in our favor first sets up the proper dynamic as the chain of win in marriage did.

    • Mr. E

      The 9th Circuit already has sexual orientation meriting heightened scrutiny, thanks to the SmithKline v. Abbott case from last year 🙂 the 2nd Circuit also has it thanks to its ruling on Windsor

  • From the CRA:

    “SEC. 2000e-1. [Section 702]
    (a) Inapplicability of subchapter to certain aliens and employees of religious entities
    This subchapter shall not apply to an employer with respect to the employment of aliens outside any State, or to a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association, educational institution, or society of its activities.”

    “a religious corporation”

    What exactly does that mean in a post-Hobby Lobby world?

    • franklinb23

      I would assume it only applies to 501c3 entity.

      I don’t have a problem with this. If a religious entity or church wants to only allow vegeterian heterosexuals who have never been divorced and who wear pointy hats, that’s up to them.

      Private sector employment is entirely different.

      • Menergy

        I would hope so (applying only to 501(c)3’s. In my former career, there were plenty of religious-based/owned charitables that received federal funding and were allowed to restrict their employment to solely employees of the organization’s faith etc. (Under the CRA protections). They could not, however, force a recipient homeless person, for example, coming to a shelter or food service to undergo some religious service in order to receive the government-provided food/shelter. They could restrict employment.

      • Hence the HL reference. The wording of that section would *seem* to also apply to a closely held Corporate Person with sincerely held religious beliefs.

  • JCF

    Off-topic: even as we celebrate our own rights, I’m extremely disturbed by this case that sounds like it’s from 60 years, not 6 days, ago—

    Demand justice for Sandra Bland!

    Last Friday, Texas police pulled 28-year-old Sandra Bland as she drove to her new job for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. After police ripped Sandra from her car and violently slammed her the ground, she was unjustly arrested, charged with assault and then taken to Waller County Jail. Seventy-two hours later, she was dead.

    Police are claiming that Sandra took her own life, but her family and friends know that’s not true. We stand with them. Time and time again, violent and discriminatory police kill and lie to cover up their brutal action.

    Police cannot police themselves. Will you join us in urging Attorney General Lynch to thoroughly investigate Sandra’s death and hold all those responsible fully accountable?

    Please sign petition here: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/sandra-bland/

    • Steve Teeter

      Attorney General Lynch? What a chilling name.

  • JT

    It’s interesting that transgender discrimination was ruled out earlier than sexual orientation discrimination. The article below from the Washington Post indicates that that ruling a few years ago has been accepted in rulings by federal courts.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/07/16/anti-gay-discrimination-is-sex-discrimination-says-the-eeoc/

  • leastyebejudged

    Reparations

  • JT
  • DutchBoy74

    ENDA would be a real nice icing on the top.

  • This calls for fireworks! And Georg Frederic Handel of course! https://youtu.be/ZuG1t2smdCQ

  • YakHerder

    With Congress unable to pass ENDA anytime soon, this is absolutely the best we could hope for. Don’t get carried away, of course—an agency’s interpretation of a statute can change from one administration to the next. (i.e., a GOP president could undo this win just as easily). But as long as the Dems hold the White House, this is the law…and an enormous win.

  • justmeeeee

    Does’t FML stand for “Fuck My Life?”

    • StraightGrandmother

      In this case, I think so, LOL!

  • People4Humanity

    Chitown Kev posted a link to the relevant level of scrutiny: