By: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
WASHINGTON, D.C ― The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said today that a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which bans gender-based discrimination, also protects gay and lesbian employees. The ruling made history as it is the first time that a full federal appeals court ruling has come to this decision.
The court’s ruling stated that Title VII, which protects against discrimination based on gender, also included discrimination based on sexual orientation. Now here is the shock of all time! Eight of the 11 appeals court judges who considered the case were appointed by Republican presidents.
According to the written opinion…“Neither here nor there that the Congress that enacted the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and chose to include sex as a prohibited basis for employment discrimination (no matter why it did so) may not have realized or understood the full scope of the words it chose.”
The majority opinion further stated that members of the 88th Congress of 1964 may have been “surprised” by decisions that would come later in years of lititgation that found that the law prohibited sexual harassment in the workplace and discrimination based on a person’s failure to conform to gender stereotypes.
“We conclude today that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
Is a form of sex discrimination.”
However many legal scholars feel that the recent decisions favoring LGBT rights in the U.S. Supreme Court, may have been the reason for the majority of the 7th Circuit Court to rule in favor of LGBTQ citizens.
“The logic of the Supreme Court’s decisions, as well as the common-sense reality that it is actually impossible to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without discriminating on the basis of sex, persuade us that the time has come to overrule our previous cases that have endeavored to find and observe that line,” the opinion stated.
“For many years, the courts of appeals of this country understood the prohibition against sex discrimination to exclude discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation. The Supreme Court, however, has never spoken to that question,” the majority wrote. “In this case, we have been asked to take a fresh look at our position in light of developments at the Supreme Court extending over two decades. We have done so, and we conclude today that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.”
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