“We are overwhelmed with joy today. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that companies no longer have the right to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans in the workplace,” wrote Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams in a statement. “Five years ago SCOTUS recognized what is self-evident — that LGBTQ Americans are entitled to equality. Today SCOTUS acknowledged that LGBTQ Americans are legally protected from employment discrimination.”
“As we celebrate this major victory, we recognize that it comes in the midst of a global pandemic and at a moment when our state and nation are grappling with both the legal and cultural systems of racism. So yes, today we celebrate and cheer, and tomorrow we get back to work,” Williams continued. “While LGBTQ people across the country now have legal protections from discrimination at work, we still have a long way to go.”
Williams noted several things that still remain to end discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
“Last Friday the Trump Administration moved to strip protections for transgender Americans from the Affordable Care Act. This is an immoral and unconscionable act as COVID-19 continues to spike across the country. We must work to ensure that every member of our community can access medical care without fear of discrimination,” he wrote.
Williams pointed out that in Utah and in many states across the nation, it is still legal for stores, restaurants, and hotels to discriminate against LGBTQ people, because no public accommodations law exists.
He also noted that it is legal for federally funded programs, including hospitals, colleges, and adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Transgender people lack the legal backing to use the restroom of their gender.
He also noted that, without an equal rights amendment for women, it is legal to discriminate against women in public accommodations and federally funded programs.
“Utah has made incredible strides forward, but 29 states still do not have basic protections,” Williams wrote. “We need Congress to fully protect LGBTQ people from discrimination and pass the Equality Act to ensure federal non-discrimination protections.”
He also addressed the issues of race that are the subject of rallies across the nation and world.
“Yesterday, LGBTQ Utahns marched in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We were honored to support the voices of Black Queer Transgender People of Color,” he wrote. “Our state and our nation, at every level, needs to address the racism that perpetuates discrimination and violence against Black people — and all people of color, including those who are LGBTQ — even when such discrimination and violence are formally prohibited by law.”
“Even with today’s decision, Black LGBTQ people will still face disproportionate discrimination across their lives,” he continued. “Until our laws remedy systemic racism and inequality, and our culture catches up to those laws, our movement’s pursuit of LGBTQ equality is far from done.”
Williams noted that this victory is “sorely needed after a brutal four months” and is a tribute to the work of our community.
“Today is a powerful reminder of what we as a community can accomplish, and how much work is left to do.”