Supreme Court Ruling Upholds LGBTQ Rights — And Enrages The Republican Right

LGBT supreme court

An LGBT rights demonstrator at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Photo credit: Victoria Pickering

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Right-wing media figures had a meltdown after the Supreme Court decided that it is unconstitutional for employers to discriminate against LGBTQ people, calling it "Orwellian" and "a brute force attack on our constitutional system." In one of the most significant rulings for the rights of trans and queer people, the court ruled 6-3 that LGBTQ employees are protected under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

The Supreme Court issued a combined ruling on several cases; two were on behalf of men who were fired for being gay and a third about a woman who was fired for being trans. In that third case, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, extreme anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represented a funeral home owner who fired employee Aimee Stephens after she came out as transgender. Stephens died on May 12 and was unable to see the landmark decision in her favor.

Despite the victory for LGBTQ people, media and society still have a long way to go on trans acceptance; for example, at the time of Stephens' death, some major news outlets deadnamed her, the disrespectful practice of referring to a trans person by the name they used before transitioning.

ADF has long worked through the courts to fight against LGBTQ rights in every aspect of their lives, asking the courts to legalize discrimination against queer people in the workplace, in businesses, public facilities and restrooms, homeless shelters, and elsewhere. In addition to its work in the courts around Title VII, it has vehemently opposed the Equality Act, which would add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" explicitly to Title VII. The group is a regular presence on Fox News, where it advocates for its cases. After the Supreme Court's decision, ADF dubiously claimed the ruling "will create chaos and enormous unfairness for women and girls in athletics, women's shelters, and many other contexts."

The Supreme Court's decision came only days after the Trump-Pence administration dealt another devastating blow to the LGBTQ community. On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule "that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people when it comes to health care and health insurance" and would allow doctors and medical professionals to deny care to LGBTQ people; transgender people already face "rampant discrimination" in health care. Advocates havenoted that this puts the Trump-Pence administration's interpretation of sex under federal law at odds with the Supreme Court's.

In addition, reports indicated that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will propose a rule "in the coming weeks" that will allow homeless shelters to discriminate against trans people.

The Movement Advancement Project estimates that 42% of LGBTQ Americans lived "in states that do not prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity," even though a majority of Americans support nondiscrimination protections, including in employment.

Right-wing media figures call decision "a brute force attack on our constitutional system"

While millions of LGBTQ Americans and their allies celebrated the historic ruling, right-wing media outlets and figures were quick to condemn it, calling it "Orwellian" and "a brute force attack on our constitutional system."

Here are some of the worst right-wing reactions:

PJ Media title SCOTUS Title VII

  • The Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro

  • Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton

  • FRC's Tony Perkins

  • The Daily Wire's Michael Knowles

  • Heritage Foundation's Ryan T. Anderson

  • Judicial Crisis Network's Carrie Severino

  • Conservative Review's Daniel Horowitz

  • C-FAM's Stefano Gennarini

  • Fox News host Mark Levin

  • American Principles Project

  • Newsbusters' Tim Graham

  • Michelle Malkin


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