A step forward, a step back …

One step forward, one step back ...

“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.”

Read more here and here; and you can read the actual decision here if you want.

This ruling has the potential to be a major landmark in the fight against discrimination. But keep in mind that every Federal appeals court to consider whether gay employees are entitled to non-discrimination protection has ruled in the past that we are not protected.

Just last month, for example, a Federal appeals panel in Atlanta reached the opposite conclusion by a 2 to 1 vote.

In addition, Congress has repeatedly refused to extend employment nondiscrimination protections to members of the LGBTQ community.

Whether that will change anytime soon will ultimately depend on whether the issue reaches the Supreme Court, which seems likely in some form; whether Neil Gorsuch is confirmed and participates in any future ruling, which also seems likely; and whether Anthony Kennedy, often friendly to gay rights issues in the past, is willing to break from his Republican colleagues.

That’s far from certain.

In the meantime, what we know for sure is that two big athletic conferences, the NCAA and the ACC, have voted to sell out gay and transgendered people in North Carolina and thus heightened the risk that other states, like Texas, will soon join North Carolina in promoting bigotry against their citizens.

As one article put it, “it’s a wake-up call to all of us about just how fragile rights for LGBTQ people are in a time when the White House, congressional majorities and the current Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, are hostile to our rights and, more importantly, supportive of religious conservatives who are trying to take them away.”

You can read more about all of this here.

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