This month, by a 6-3 vote, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision which was considered a resounding victory for LGBTQ workers across the country, who until this ruling, were not protected from discrimination in their workplaces on the basis of their sexuality.
The case ultimately involved consideration of consolidated claims brought by plaintiffs, one of whom was Donald Zarda, a gay skydiving instructor who claimed that he had been fired because of his sexual orientation. Zarda’s job required him to strap himself tightly to clients so they could jump from the airplane in tandem, and Zarda had attempted to put one of the women jumping with him at ease by explaining that he was gay. When the woman’s boyfriend called to complain, Zarda was fired.
Other claims included one brought by Gerald Bostock, a gay employee in the Atlanta area, who claimed that he was fired in 2013 because he was gay, and one by Aimee Stephens, who lived in the Detroit area and lost her job as a funeral director after revealing to her supervisor that she had struggled with her gender for the majority of her life and had finally, “decided to become the person that my mind already is.”
The cases wound their way through their respective state and federal appeals courts, and were eventually appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. In its ruling, the court found that a landmark civil rights law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, protects LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment. In so finding, the court stated:
“Today, we might decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear …. 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.”
The ruling is considered a resounding victory for LGBTQ rights, and is expected to have a tremendously positive impact on the estimated 8.1 million LGBTQ workers across the country, most of whom were not protected from discrimination in the workplace by any laws, federal or state. With this ruling, that has changed.
The Ripple Effects of the Court’s Ruling
While the ruling will certainly have an undeniably positive impact for LGBTQ workers across the country, it will undoubtedly have a ripple effect into other areas of LGBTQ life as well, and the housing and real estate market is no exception. While the ruling doesn’t specifically address housing per se, what it does mean is that now, LGBTQ people can move anywhere in country and feel legally protected in their places of employment. That’s big win, and it opens up an entirely new world of opportunity in terms of places that those in the LGBTQ community might want to call home.
Does this ruling mean that people will never discriminate? Unfortunately not. Does it mean that every city, every neighborhood, every employer will be as diverse and welcoming as another? Sadly, the answer is again no. Discrimination, bias, ignorance – these aren’t the sorts of things that will disappear simply because of a court ruling. What it does mean, however, is that those in the LGBTQ community who want to work, and do so without fear of discrimination that has no legal recourse have new options now.
No longer will LGBTQ individuals have to closely analyze state and local laws or the policies of each individual employer to see if they will be protected from discrimination because of who they are. Now, those in the LGBTQ community can choose a city they want to live in and an employer they want to work for, knowing that when they do, if they encounter discrimination, they have legal protection – in every state, in every community, at every employer across the country. This opens up an entirely new set of options for those who may have felt hesitant moving to a place that had not previously enacted robust legal employment protections. That’s great news, and it will likely create a rising interest in real estate markets across the country.
It’s also likely that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling will reverberate through ongoing legal and legislative fights about anti-discrimination provisions in other federal laws and policies across the country. It could give fuel to fight the Trump administration’s recent decision that sexual orientation would no longer be covered by a provision of the 2010 health care law which prohibits discrimination based on sex, and it could be reason to further challenge the Trump administration’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.
Likely, this ruling will also further bolster anti-discrimination arguments in house-buying and rental opportunities across the country as well. Truly, the ripple effects could be endless and highly encouraging to the LGBTQ community. Indeed, this ruling is likely only the beginning of many more. For those in the LGBTQ community who are interested in moving to cities across the country that they may have previously felt unsure about in terms of legal anti-discrimination protection, the tide is certainly turning.
Contact GayRealEstate.com Today
If you are considering moving to a new city, and feel excited about the new world of possibilities that lies ahead of you, it’s a great time to begin looking for an agent who knows that city well, and who can help you to find the perfect home and neighborhood to suit your needs and lifestyle. At GayRealEstate.com pairing buyers and sellers across the country with LGBTQ-friendly real estate agents is our specialty, and our passion. Connect with an agent today, there is no cost or obligation. If you’re considering relocating and will be buying a home, you can request a Free Relocation Kit prepared by a top LGBTQ real estate professional in the city of your choice. If you’re ready to begin your search, today is a perfect day to get started! We look forward to helping you soon either online or Toll Free at 1-888-420-MOVE (6683).