On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that a landmark civil rights law protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. “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,” wrote Justice Neil M. Gorsuch for the majority in the 6-to-3 ruling. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were the other justices who voted in favor of the ruling.

Rainbow Balloons, Supreme Court Decision

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, religion, national origin and sex. Until the ruling, it was legal in more than half of the states to fire workers for being gay, bisexual, or transgender. This decision extended workplace protections to millions of people across the nation.

Felton President and CEO Al Gilbert noted: “Felton Institute has a long history of upholding the tenets of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act for all of its employees. This historic Supreme Court ruling affirms the values that Felton has always held and will continue to implement for gay and transgender employees.”

Felton’s Dr. Philip Tsui, an internationally acclaimed Clinical Training Specialist with a focus on services for LGBT seniors, commented, “Isn’t it amazing that until today, before this decision, LGBTQ job discrimination was still technically legal in much of the nation and under federal law. Less than half the states have laws explicitly prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity!!!”

The ruling came in the middle of LGBTQ+ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning) Pride Month. The first Pride march in New York City was held on June 28, 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of annual LGBTQ+ traditions. The 1969 Stonewall Uprising between police officers and Stonewall bar patrons is considered the tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.

This year many Pride Celebrations, including San Francisco’s, were held as virtual celebrations due to COVID-19.

About Felton Institute: Founded in 1889, Felton Institute responds to human needs by providing cutting edge, evidence-based mental health and social services that transform lives. Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.

Offering more than 60 acclaimed and honored programs that address homelessness, mental health, prenatal, adolescent, adult and senior needs, Felton Institute provides services in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Marin, and Monterey counties.

Felton is named for its social services pioneer and executive director Dr. Katharine “Kitty” Felton who was called the ”conscience of San Francisco” and was committed to ensuring that children and families in crisis have access to social services and resources in order to help them build upon their inherent strengths and develop self-sufficiency. www.felton.org