Community reacts to historic ruling on LGBTQ rights

Today local community members reacted to the high court's historic ruling on employment rights for the LGBTQ community, many of them saying it's long overdue.

Posted: Jun 15, 2020 6:40 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Today local community members reacted to the high court's historic ruling on employment rights for the LGBTQ community, many of them saying it's long overdue.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes gay and transgender employees.

RELATED: SUPREME COURT SAYS FEDERAL LAW PROTECTS LGBTQ WORKERS FROM DISCRIMINATION

Oregon has legally protected members of the LGBTQ community in the workplace since 2008, but now the rest of the country will follow suit.

"You know its something that I think should've had on lock a long time ago, but that it's happening now is really important. I felt like I couldn't talk too loudly about my queer identity, and I couldn't ask people to use my correct pronouns, its a really hard thing and I think it really affected my mental health," said Gerty Ferguson, crisis counselor for the White Bird Clinic. 

A political science professor from the University of Oregon, Alison Gash, said employment discrimination was actually a huge issue the LGBTQ community was working to get legal standing on for years, even prior to marriage equality. 

"Because folks would say, 'Hey, I just got married and I want my partner to be covered in my health insurance,' and as soon as they did that, if they were in a state that didn't bar that discrimination, then they could be fired," said Gash. 

Some legal experts said what is even more surprising is two of the court's conservative members, Neil Gorsuch and John Roberts, sided with the liberal justices to hammer down the 6-3 ruling.

"It's wonderful now that legally we can't be discriminated against across the country, but one thing that we need to look at now is that there is organizational homophobia," said Ferguson. 

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