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AAAED Statement on the Supreme Court’s Decision in LGBTQ Title VII Cases

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR ACCESS, EQUITY AND DIVERSITY
COMMENDS THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT FOR RULING THAT THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT INCLUDES NONDISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS FOR LGBTQ EMPLOYEES
Washington, DC, June 15, 2020 - The American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity, an organization of equal opportunity, diversity and affirmative action professionals, announced its support for the decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the coverage of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.
The Court consolidated three cases, Altitude Express, Inc., et al. v. Zarda et al., as Co-Independent Executors of the Estate of Zarda; R. G. & G. R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission et al ; and Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, which raised the question of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act included sexual orientation as part of the prohibition against sex discrimination. This has been a hotly debated issue and has led to the introduction of legislation to include sexual orientation under the civil rights laws. In each of these cases, an employer terminated an employee on the basis of his or her sexual orientation. In today's 6 - 3 decision, the Court ruled:  An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII.
Founded in 1974 as the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), AAAED is the longest-serving national not-for-profit association of professionals and institutions dedicated to the promotion of equal opportunity, compliance and diversity. AAAED has nearly forty-six years of leadership in providing professional training to members, enabling them to be more successful and productive in their careers. It also promotes understanding and advocacy of affirmative action and other equal opportunity laws to enhance the tenets of access, inclusion and equality in employment, economic and educational opportunities. Nearly one-half of the association’s members work for public and private institutions of higher education, including community colleges as well as research institutions. AAAA was founded by affirmative action professionals working for colleges and universities.
AAAED commends the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States for ruling in favor of equality for LGBTQ Americans in employment. Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the court confirmed that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected under the sex discrimination prohibition of the law. Put best by Justice Neil Gorsuch, delivering the opinion of the Court:
"Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids."
“It is an extraordinary ruling for LGBTQ people who have been fighting for decades to be seen as equal under the law,” said AAAED President Dr. Richard Anthony Baker. “When you consider that this is also Pride Month, this is a reminder to all Americans that we can achieve equality for everyone,” added President Baker. AAAED is a signatory on one of the amicus curiae briefs filed in support of the employees in these cases: Impact Fund Amicus Brief .
"While we are celebrating the day, we at the AAAED must continue to encourage and support the passage of the Equality Act in the Senate – a law that would end discrimination in a variety of aspects of life including housing, public accommodations, education, federal funding, credit, and jury duty," said Shirley J. Wilcher, Executive Director. "While the AAAED assisted in the passage of the Equality Act in the House, as well as testifying in the Education and Labor Committee hearings on employment discrimination in federal contracting, we will continue to advance LGBTQ equality in federal law," she added.
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For more information about AAAED, go to www.aaaed.org . Information about the AAAED 46th National Conference - Virtual, may be found at https://www.aaaed.org/aaaed/Conference.asp