WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if a federal employment discrimination law protects members of the LGBTQ community.
The justices, including President Donald Trump’s two conservative-leaning appointees, will hear arguments on three separate lawsuits. This comes four years after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.
“There’s a true opportunity for the Supreme Court to affirm that LGBTQ are protected under our civil rights law,” said Sarah Warbelow of the Human Rights Campaign.
Warbelow says the cases could be the first step towards ensuring civil rights for LGBTQ people.
“The cases at hand are about employment, but it will certainly have ramifications in housing and education as well,” Warbelow said.
The lawsuits pertain to employees who say they were illegally fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The case will decide if the definition of the word sex used in the 1964 Civil Rights Act covers sexual orientation and gender identity.
Some lower courts have ruled LGBTQ people are protected under the law. However, the Trump administration, the justice department and conservative advocates disagree.
“We’re very anxious to hear what the Supreme Court has to say about these issues,” said John Bursch of the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Bursch will represent a Michigan funeral home before the Supreme Court. The funeral home lost a lawsuit after firing a transgender woman for dress code violations. He says the funeral home was trying to protect the grieving.
“We can all agree that sex discrimination is bad, but when you change the definition of sex, it has major consequences and can harm many people,” Bursch said.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the cases in the fall.