Oklahomans For Equality Board President Praises Supreme Court's Decision

Monday, June 15th 2020, 6:39 pm
By: Jonathan Cooper

TULSA, Okla. -

Chris Brecht-Smith is praising what he said is a monumental decision today.

"I never thought I'd see gay marriage in my lifetime, much less the federal government recognizing equality in the employment sector as well,” he said.

In a 6 to 3 decision this morning, the Supreme Court ruled gender identity and sexual orientation are protected classes under Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - meaning employers cannot fire someone for simply being gay or transgender.

The act already barred discrimination on the basis of sex, race, national origin and religion.

Brecht-Smith is an attorney and the board president for Oklahomans for Equality.

He said this is something they've been fighting for, for many years.

"We've been pressing for federal protections for the LGBTQ plus community, particularly in the employment law sector because it is so easy to terminate somebody in that respect," said Brecht-Smith.

Some states have passed laws protecting LGBTQ employees in the past, but this ruling creates federal protection across the board.

But three justices - Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas - dissented accusing the court of legislating from the bench and misinterpreting the original act.

In his dissent Justice Alito argues that "discrimination because of 'sex' is different from discrimination because of 'sexual orientation' or 'gender identity'."

Justice Kavanaugh argues that it's the role of Congress and the President, not the court, to alter Title 7.

As for how the ruling might impact employers arguing religious freedom, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch noted that might be settled by future lawsuits.