On June 15, 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ people are protected from workplace discrimination under federal law. GLMA President Scott Nass, MD, MPA, and GLMA Executive Director Hector Vargas, JD, issued the following statement:
“LGBTQ healthcare workers and all LGBTQ people across the country now have the job security to know federal law prohibiting sex discrimination includes protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In the 6-3 decision, the majority opinion states ‘it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.’
“The cases before the court were brought by the ACLU on behalf of amazing and courageous plaintiffs who stood up for equality. We thank Aimee Stephens, Don Zarda, and Gerald Bostock, as well as the ACLU, for their leadership and dedication on behalf of LGBTQ people everywhere.
“Over the last few months, we have been highlighting the stories of LGBTQ healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic, especially those who live in a state without an inclusive statewide nondiscrimination law. GLMA has called on the nation to step up for LGBTQ healthcare workers in the same way they have stepped up and made tremendous sacrifices to ensure the health and safety of communities across the nation.
“With today’s ruling on employment nondiscrimination, the Supreme Court has answered this call and taken another significant advancement for LGBTQ civil rights.
“But we also recognize there is still much to be done to ensure full equality for the LGBTQ community. We know that LGBTQ people may still face discrimination in and be denied healthcare.
“On the heels of the unconscionable move last week by the Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate regulations protecting transgender people and other vulnerable communities from discrimination in healthcare, we must double our efforts to ensure no one is denied healthcare, especially during a pandemic. The health and lives of transgender and gender-diverse individuals hang in the balance.
“Congress must follow the lead of the Supreme Court and fill the gaps in federal nondiscrimination laws, especially in areas of public accommodations and federal programs. Congress must adopt the Equality Act to provide fair and equal treatment to LGBTQ people across all areas of our lives, and the states must also pass full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
“Finally, we understand that full recognition of LGBTQ equality means very little without addressing the institutional racism that is embedded within our systems of governance and within society and culture itself. Even with today’s ruling, Black LGBTQ people and queer people of color will still face disproportionate discrimination in all aspects of their lives. Our work ahead requires action and perseverance to ensure these systems are comprehensively reformed and rebuilt before we can truly celebrate any progress.”
GLMA joined with other health professional associations in a friend-of-the-court brief submitted to the US Supreme Court in support of the plaintiffs.