The Associated Press is reporting that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTs from workplace discrimination.
Normally, a case would be heard by three judges on the court, but this was heard by the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The judges ruled 8-3 that Title VII protects LGBTs in the workplace.
This is WAY huge.
The decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes after it threw out a July finding by three of its own judges that the law doesn’t cover sexual-orientation bias and ordered a rare rehearing by the full court, a rare session known as an en banc hearing.
It also comes as President Donald Trump’s administration has begun setting its own policies on LGBT rights. Late in January, the White House declared Trump would enforce an Obama administration order barring companies that do federal work from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual identity. But in February, it revoked guidance on transgender students’ use of public school bathrooms, deferring to states.
The Hively case stems from a lawsuit by Indiana teacher Kimberly Hively alleging that the Ivy Tech Community College in South Bend didn’t hire her full time because she is a lesbian. The entire court reheard oral arguments in November and directed the toughest questions at a lawyer for the college who argued only Congress could extend the protections. The aggressive questions suggested the court might be willing to expand the 53-year-old landmark law.
Judge Diane Wood called it a "common-sense reality that it is actually impossible to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without discriminating on the basis of sex."
The 7th Circuit covers federal lawsuits out of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
BREAKING: Federal court rules employers can't fire people for being gay! This is a HUGE victory! #LGBTQ https://t.co/2WKlwza48a— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) April 4, 2017
More context: The #7thCircuit ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees from sexual orientation discrimination! #LGBTQ— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) April 4, 2017
This case was heard en banc, which means it was heard by the *whole* #7thCircuit. Most cases are heard by a panel of only 3 judges. #LGBTQ— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) April 4, 2017