Nearly 100 Mayors and Cities File Brief to U.S. Supreme Court in Support of LGBT+ Rights

Wilton Manors Mayor Justin Flippen signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief in three key LGBT+ cases that will be heard at the Supreme Court next term. The brief includes nearly 100 mayors and municipalities around the U.S. encouraging the Supreme Court to rule in support of LGBT+ nondiscrimination protections in the workplace.

The cases concern three plaintiffs: Gerald Lynn Bostock, who was fired from his job as a court welfare services coordinator in Georgia because he is gay; Aimee Stephens, who was let go from her job at a funeral home in Michigan after she shared with her employer that she is a transgender woman; and Don Zarda, who was fired from his job in New York as a skydiving instructor for being gay.

Mayor Flippen released the following statement:

“No one should experience discrimination because of who they are or who they love. Our LGBT+ neighbours and community members make important contributions to our community, and they want the same things as other residents: to raise their families, to make decent livings, and to feel accepted in the cities they call home. As Mayor, it’s my responsibility to make sure all of my residents are treated with dignity, fairness, and respect. No form of discrimination has any place in Wilton Manors, nor in the United States.”

The brief states in part:

“Local anti-discrimination laws promote the prosperity and vitality of American communities. Among other things, these laws enhance innovation and economic opportunities. For example, researchers have found that state-level non-discrimination acts barring sexual orientation and transgender status discrimination result in higher rates of innovation, as measured by patents and patent citations. Adopting specific protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status has facilitated LGBT+ individuals’ participation in, and contribution to, their communities, enriching both the individual and the whole. And it has achieved that end with no real difficulties of implementation or administration, all while avoiding burdening taxpayer resources to remediate the harms of workplace discrimination against LGBT+ residents.”

At the core of these cases is the question of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, prohibits LGBT+ discrimination. A number of lower courts and federal agencies have already affirmed that it does. In addition, 30 states and more than 250 cities around the country have comprehensive laws in place ensuring nondiscrimination protections for LGBT+ people, including in employment.

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