SAVANNAH, GA. (WSAV) – In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that a federal law banning sex discrimination in the workplace now also applies to members of the LGBTQ community.
“For the first time in my life, I cannot be fired for being a gay man,” said Dusty Church, co-board chair of First City Pride Center.
Church, like other LGBTQ activists, is seeing the fruits of his labor. Locally, he fights for equality, and the Supreme Court ruling brings his community one step closer.
“It’s an affirmation that they belong in this country; it’s an affirmation that all of us truly deserving of equality and justice,” said Church. “It means a lot, even if we still have a long way to go, it means a tremendous amount to hear from our government.”
By a vote of 6-3, the court said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 barring sex discrimination in the workplace now also protects gay and transgender people.
“It is a good step, it is a powerful step and a powerful statement declaring our position as welcomed and equal in this country,” said Church, “but it doesn’t affect the systemic issues that are affecting so many.”
Church said LGBTQ people are still vulnerable to discrimination in housing, medical care, and other public spaces — something he said is even worse for people of color.
“For communities of color more broadly and particularly LGBTQ members of those communities who face additional discrimination… this isn’t the end,” said Church. “Frankly this doesn’t provide nearly the same level of hope that it does to many in the activist community who see it as a step forward.”
Church said the First City Pride Center is working with local officials to continue advocating for more protections here in Georgia. The organization is postponing all large gatherings until next year.