95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

U.S. Supreme Court backs work protections for LGBTQ people


 Aimee Stephens was fired from her job at R.G & G.R Funeral Home in Garden City, Michigan seven years ago when she told funeral home owner, Thomas Ross, that  she would begin dressing as a woman at work. She argued protection under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. Ross countered that regardless of how Stephens showed up to work, his dress code required employees adhere to gender biologically assigned at birth.

Stephens died last month awaiting Monday’s Supreme Court decision. In a 6-3 vote, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch upheld a lower court’s decision, stating that the law protects employees from being fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“I know the last seven years of Aimee’s life she rose as a leader who fought against discrimination against transgender people and I am so grateful for this victory to honor the legacy of Aimee and to assure people are treated fairly regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

That’s Donna Stephens, Aimee’s, longtime partner. Chase Strangio, the Deputy Director for Transgender Justice with the ACLU, says this ruling is a rebuke of the Trump Administration.

“But ultimately the Trump administration is not the final word on what acts of Congress mean, the court is, and today the highest court made it unquestionable clear that LGBTQ people are covered under prohibitions on sex discrimination under Federal law and this truly is life saving for so many people.”

Currently, there is a Michigan petition drive to add LBGTQ protections to the state’s civil rights law, but it still is  unclear what effect this federal ruling has on the petition drive.