The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday heard
two hours of oral arguments in a trio of consolidated cases involving
LGBT employment rights.
Two of the cases – Zarda v.
Altitude Express and Bostock v. Clayton County – seek
clarification on whether sexual orientation is covered under Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The third case, Harris
Funeral Homes v. EEOC, involves a transgender plaintiff.
U.S. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch,
who was appointed by President Donald Trump, a Republican, appeared
open to the notion that anti-LGBT discrimination is a form of sex
discrimination under Title VII. But Gorsuch also seemed concerned
that siding with the plaintiffs would create “massive social
NPR noted that there were many moments
where Gorsuch “seemed to side with the gay employees. But there
were many more when he seemed to go the other way.”
Trump's other appointee, Justice Brett
Kavanaugh, asked only one question throughout the arguments.
In its filings with the court, the
Trump administration has supported the employers' position that the
law does not protect based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Capitol Police arrested 133 LGBT
activists protesting outside the court.
According to various outlets, the
activists were affiliated with Housing Works and other organizations.
They sat in First Street, NE in an act of civil disobedience after
the justices concluded their hearing. After refusing demands by
police to move, the activists were arrested without incident.