Didn’t see that coming!

Belated congratulations to our American LGBT friends and their supporters! On Monday, June 15th 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled by a majority of six to three that to fire someone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity was a form of sex discrimination, and therefore illegal.

What made this especially stunning was that the majority opinion was issued by Trump nominee and presumed arch conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch. “We agree that homosexuality and transgender status are distinct concepts from sex,” Gorsuch wrote. “But as we’ve seen, discrimination based on homosexuality or transgender status necessarily entails discrimination based on sex; the first cannot happen without the second.” OMG! A thinking conservative! I thought they were an extinct species.

There are many challenges ahead as Trump continues his assault on trans folks. He has tried to ban transgender people from the military and the week before issued regulations that would erase protection from discrimination in health care for trans people. However, the court’s decision has now made legal challenges to these policies likely.

Sadly, Aimee Stephens one of the plaintiffs at the centre of the case did not live to hear the decision. She was fired from her job in 2013 after coming out as transgender. She died in May. Chase Strangio, the deputy director for transgender justice at the American Civil Liberties Union who represented her in court said, “This was her life’s mission at the end of her life. She tried so hard to hold on to see the decision. And I thought that we would lose and that would be the last thing that she saw. But instead, we won. She won. I wish she had lived to see that.”

It’s hugely satisfying to see US conservatives having a meltdown from this decision. Trump promised his evangelical followers that he’d fill US courts with conservative judges and he’s been largely successful at that. Presumably they were expecting Chinese like “justice” from them. Gorsuch has sown hope that they’re not all lapdogs.