Late last week, the Trump Administration filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing workplace discrimination protections don’t apply to sexual orientation. LGBTQ Americans, in other words, can continue to be fired strictly because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Members of Congress filed their own brief supporting the Trump Administration’s argument. The brief’s Texas signers included Sen. John Cornyn and Reps. Louie Gohmert, Michael Burgess, Brian Babin, and Bill Flores.
On Cornyn’s active participation in the court ruling, the Texas Democratic Party’s Abhi Rahman told The Signal that “hate has no place in Texas.”
Donald Zarda was fired from his job as a skydiving instructor by a New York company because he was gay. Zarda has since died but his estate is carrying on his legal challenge. The Zarda case is one of three LGBTQ workplace discrimination cases expected before the U.S. Supreme Court this fall.
“When my brother told me that he was fired, I was shocked,” Zarda’s sister, Melissa, said. “I couldn’t believe that you could be fired for being gay. I thought that this had to be against the law. I hope the Supreme Court will see that what happened to my brother was wrong.”
The Texas landscape
Major Fortune 500 companies – the state’s largest employers – oppose discrimination across the board, including against sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s bad for business – and wrong, they say.
In 2015, Republican strategist Mark McKinnon wrote in Politico that Republicans had “lost on gay rights.”
“Culturally, we’ve gone from taboo to tolerance, and in some cities, total embrace,” he wrote, “Elections are always about the future, never about the past. And so my advice to GOP candidates is to recognize that since our society has largely moved on, and business has moved on, so should the party of Abraham Lincoln, who fought a civil war over civil rights.”
In numerous polls, a strong majority of Texans support protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in the workplace and housing.
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