At long last, federal protection for gay and transgender Texans

by | Jun 15, 2020 | LGBTQ Rights, Policy

In a 6 to 3 decision on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that individuals cannot be fired from their workplace for being gay or transgender. 

Doing so violates the equal employment portion of the Civil Rights Act, the judges said. 

The landmark ruling now means transgender and gay workers are protected by federal law prohibiting discrimination — something especially important in states like Texas, where Republican lawmakers who control the Texas Legislature have failed to codify similar protections into law. 

Texas is one of 27 states where no statewide protections against sexual or gender identity discrimination exist, according to Equality Texas.

In a prepared statement, the advocacy group’s CEO Ricardo Martinez said today’s decision was a “watershed moment” for LGBTQ Texans but warned that Black gay and transgender Texans would still face disproportionate discrimination.

“Our laws need to remedy systemic racism and inequality — our movement’s pursuit of LGBTQ equality is far from done,” Martinez said. 

The Texas House LGBTQ Caucus, formed last legislative session by five openly LGBTQ lawmakers, also promised there was more work to do. 

“While there is a long way to go towards ensuring comprehensive antidiscrimination protections in settings such as housing, adoption, healthcare, and many others, this national victory marks historical progress in civil rights law, affecting millions of Americans,” read a statement by the caucus. 

“Our work is far from over, and our caucus is committed to continuing these advances with a broad and inclusive agenda, including proposing comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation next session,” the caucus said. 

Last session, more than 20 anti-LGBTQ bills were filed in the Texas Legislature. Only one, a “Save Chick-fil-A Bill” disguised as a religious liberty bill, eventually passed into law.

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

fernando@texassignal.com | + posts

Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at fernando@texassignal.com

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