Just three days after the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre that killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 others and three days after the Trump administration rolled back protections for transgender people against being denied healthcare, LGBTQ+ Americans received a much needed win Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court said employees cannot be fired because of their sexual orientation.
In a 6-3 decision, the top court in the nation said Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ+ Americans from being fired because sex, which is protected, is inseparable from sexual orientation and gender identity.
The ruling, the biggest win for the LGBTQ+ community since 2015, extends what amounts to basic human decency to approximately 8.5 million gay and transgender Americans and is sure to spark a crusade of pious handwringing among the conservative advocacy groups, right-wing Twitter trolls and the diseased hive mind that is Fox News.
Yet, the ardent defenders of “traditional” values need not despair. There are still plenty of other ways to disenfranchise and oppress the LGBTQ+ community as Monday’s ruling only covers the workplace. In Mississippi, landlords can reject gay and transgender applicants for housing, doctors can refuse to provide medical care and businesses can deny service to people based on their sexual orientation.
For parents of gay or transgender youth, conversion therapy (a.k.a. torture) remains another legally viable option. And, for those more prone to violence, LGBTQ+ Panic is still an accepted legal defense in our state.
According to Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit think tank that scores states on their laws for LGBTQ+ equality, Mississippi ranks a whopping negative 3.5 out of 35 possible points, hitting zero of the nine nondiscrimination categories and achieving negative 6.5 for its religious exemptions laws.
So, even as my fellow progressives celebrate Monday’s ruling – and don’t get me wrong, I am too – I think it’s a bit premature to be dancing for joy, predicting the end of times or any extreme. Hopefully we’ll get there one day, but we’re not there yet.
You can contact managing editor Thomas Howard at email@example.com