Equality Illinois Applauds Federal Appeals Court Decision

Equality Illinois Applauds Federal Appeals Court Decision
Protecting Workers Regardless of Their Sexual Orientation

Statement by Brian C. Johnson
CEO, Equality Illinois
April 4, 2017

In America, we value fairness, equality, and the freedom to be who you are without discrimination. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit made the right decision today that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in matters of employment regardless of the worker’s sexual orientation. In Illinois, we know the power of such protections because our Human Rights Act already prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

However, there is more work to be done. In spite of the ruling today by the federal court, it is still legal in most states to fire a person for their sexual orientation. Furthermore, transgender people lack workplace protections in even more states, including in Wisconsin and Indiana, which make up the federal Seventh Circuit with Illinois. In such a void of state-based protections, we call upon Congress to pass comprehensive civil rights legislation like the Equality Act, which would ensure the promise of the American Dream for LGBTQ Americans. In the absence of congressional action, courts should interpret the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect LGBTQ people in America from employment discrimination. Our civil rights should not be based upon our zip code.

We applaud our partners at Lambda Legal for their leadership and tenacity in representing Kimberly Hively in this case and for striking a blow today for fairness, justice, and freedom.

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