Two Major League Baseball (MLB) teams,
the Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants, are among the more than
200 companies calling on the Supreme Court to find that Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans workplace discrimination against
people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.
The Supreme Court has agreed to
consider the issue in a trio of cases to be heard in October. The
cases involve two male plaintiffs who were fired because they are gay
and one plaintiff who was fired soon after she disclosed to her
employer that she is a transgender woman. Two appeals courts have
sided with the plaintiffs, but one has disagreed.
The Rays and Giants are among the
two-hundred-and-six companies, including Apple, Facebook, Disney,
Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, and Northrup Grumman, to sign a brief
in the cases calling on the high court to rule in favor of the
“Interpreting Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 to exclude sexual orientation or gender identity
from protections against sex discrimination would have wide-ranging,
negative consequences for businesses, their employees, and the U.S.
economy,” the brief states. “Our nation's employers and employees
would benefit from this Court's recognition that members of the
nation's large and productive LGBT workforce are protected from such
sex-based discrimination in the workplace.”
The brief was organized by five LGBT
rights advocates: the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Lambda Legal, Out
& Equal, Out Leadership, and Freedom for All Americans.
Rays President Brian Auld said that
signing the brief was “not only the right thing to do, but it is
also best for our business.”
“We encourage other sports teams and
organizations to support this protection for fans, employees, and
their families,” he added.
LGBT sports blog Outsports
noted the absence of the Chicago Cubs. The team is co-owned by Laura
Ricketts, who is openly lesbian. The team is also co-owned by
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, a Republican who is opposed to
marriage equality. Laura and Pete Ricketts are siblings.
In 2015, the Rays and Giant signed an
amicus brief calling on the Supreme Court to strike down state
laws and constitutional amendments that defined marriage as a