SAN ANTONIO – A local equality group called Monday's Supreme Court decision against LBGTQ+ discrimination in the workplace a step in the right direction.
“I think this is a step forward,” said Equality Texas CEO Ricardo Martínez, referring to the 6-3 Supreme Court vote, which ruled that a 1964 civil court decision barring workplace discrimination for various reasons, including race and gender, must also extend to sexual orientation.
Many say the ruling offers unprecedented protection to members of the LGBTQ+ community nationwide.
“People who feel that they were discriminated based on their gender identity or sexual orientation can at least have their case heard,” said Justin Nichols, a local attorney. “I think that, for a long time, just like marriage equality before the Supreme Court weighed on the decision, there was so much uncertainty in the LGBT community.”
The news during Pride Month is promising, though the moment is bittersweet. Friday was the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting massacre in which dozens were killed. And days ago, the Department of Health and Human Services rolled back transgender health care protections put in place while former President Barack Obama was in office.
Martinez said more work needs to be done in addition to the ruling.
“To ensure that we have equal access to housing, to health care, public accommodations,” Martinez said. “To ensure that regardless of where I am, I am fully protected, and I don't have to compromise any part of me to obtain the rights that everybody else has,” Martinez said.
The next legislative session in Texas is six months away. Equality Texas, along with its coalition partners, is working on trying to pass a comprehensive nondiscrimination law that protects LGBTQ+ people in currently unprotected areas.