St. Louisans rally for LBGTQ workers’ rights

ABOUT 200 St. Louisans rallied in support of LGBTQ workers’ rights and a stronger Labor Movement in front of St. Louis City Hall Oct. 13 ahead of a Supreme Court decision on whether workers can be fired for being transgender or gay. – Photo courtesy of Niles Zee Photography

Can a worker be fired for being transgender or gay? That’s what the Supreme Court is considering in three landmark court cases questioning whether or not LGBTQ workers are protected against workplace discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The court began hearing oral arguments in the cases on Oct. 8. Specifically, they are considering if LGBTQ workers are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which states discrimination “on the basis of sex” is against the law. A decision on the cases is not expected until June 2020.

Shortly after the court proceedings began, about 200 St. Louisans rallied for LGBTQ workers’ rights in front of St. Louis City Hall at an event hosted by Rainbow Workers’ Alliance (RWA), a newly formed grassroots organization.

Participants were joined by representatives from the ACLU of Missouri, Metro Trans Umbrella Group, SIEU Local 1 and other community and Labor supporters. Organizers say the goal of the rally was to build a stronger Labor Movement representing all workers.

The most notable case involves Aimee Stephens, of Michigan, who was fired shortly after notifying her employer of six years, RG and GR Funeral Homes, that she was a transgender woman and that she would be following the company’s dress code for female employees moving forward.

The other two cases involve the late Donald Zarda, a New York skydiving instructor, and Gerald Bostark, a Georgia social worker, who were both fired from their jobs after their employers discovered they were gay. The Supreme Court has consolidated those lawsuits and will be hearing them together.

The cases are the first involving LGBTQ rights since Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s gay-rights champion and decisive vote on those issues, retired in 2018.

(Some information from Business Insider.)

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