West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey stood firmly on the wrong side of history when he filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 23 asking the court to rule against three individuals who had been fired for being LGBTQ. The three cases include the first transgender civil rights case to be heard by the high court.
“This is out-of-touch with the majority of West Virginians who support the idea no one should be fired because of who they are,” said ACLU-WV Executive Director Joseph Cohen.
“This is a cruel, unnecessary move that does nothing to strengthen our state’s economy and grow our workforce. If President Trump and Patrick Morrisey get their way at the Supreme Court, it will give the Trump administration the license to take even more dangerous actions against transgender people, including denying health care or kicking people out of their homes. It would put kids and families at risk.”
The employees in these cases, including ACLU clients Aimee Stephens who was fired for being transgender and Don Zarda who was fired for being gay, have argued that discrimination against LGBTQ people is unlawful sex discrimination. A number of federal appeals courts have said that the Civil Rights Act and other federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination apply to LGBTQ people, as have dozens of state and district courts.
“No matter the outcome in these cases, the need to pass the Fairness Act in West Virginia and the Equality Act nationwide are greater than ever. The fact these cases are even in front of the court shows that the rights of LGBTQ people should be made unambiguous in state and national law,” said Andrew Schneider, Fairness West Virginia executive director.
The cases will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 8.