Seventh Circuit: Civil Rights Act Protects Gay Workers

Matthew Haag and Niraj Chokshi report in NYT:

In a significant victory for gay rights, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled Tuesday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay workers from job discrimination, expanding workplace protections in the landmark law to include sexual orientation.

The decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the highest federal court yet to grant such employment protections, raises the chances that the politically charged issue may ultimately be resolved by the Supreme Court. While an appeal is not expected in this case, another appellate court, in Georgia, last month reached the opposite conclusion, saying that the law does not prohibit discrimination at work for gay employees….

Greg Nevins, the employment fairness program director for Lambda Legal, which represented Ms. Hively, called the ruling a “tremendous victory.” He said the Seventh Circuit’s approach to the Civil Rights Act was a momentous shift from past cases.

“The problem with the old decisions was a focus on the words that were not in the statute — ‘We don’t see sexual orientation in the statute, so you lose’ — instead of what is in it: sex discrimination,” Mr. Nevins said in an interview.

This is a hugely important decision that could not come at a better moment to illustrate what is at stake in the Gorsuch nomination. Commendations, btw, to Sen. Merkley on his all-nighter in the Senate.


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