Jun 15, 2020

Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued the following statement in response to today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on whether Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ workers from employment discrimination:

“This Supreme Court decision is a landmark victory for LGBTQ people that affirms they have employment protections that allow them to live as their true selves. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Aimee Stephens, Don Zarda and Gerald Bostock for their brave fight to secure these rights for the entire LGBTQ community, and we deeply regret that Aimee and Don are not here to celebrate these victories with us. We cannot imagine a more critical moment than during a public health crisis to make clear that the government should ensure that all of us – no matter who we are or who we love – can make a living in this country.

“But another fight is looming. The court specifically said that because the employers in this case did not rely on religious arguments, ‘how these doctrines protecting religious liberty interact with Title VII are questions for future cases.’ The progressive, inclusive faith and secular communities must come together to make clear that religious freedom is a shield that protects, not a sword that licenses discrimination and harm to others.

“This major step forward in living up to our Constitution’s promise of freedom and equality for all, building  upon the foundation laid more than 50 years ago by Black and Brown trans women who fought back against police brutality and discrimination, must stand when challenged on religious grounds. We know attacks on LGBTQ equality will continue in other aspects of life – public accommodations, government services and elsewhere. That’s why Congress must pass the Equality Act, which protects the civil rights of LGBTQ people. We also know that people will try to undermine this win with false claims of religious freedom. That is why we need to pass the Do No Harm Act, which will prevent religion from being used to harm others."