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U.S. Supreme Court says gay, transgender workers are covered by landmark civil rights law

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday delivered a watershed victory for LGBT rights, ruling that a landmark federal law forbidding workplace discrimination protects gay and transgender employees.

The 6-3 ruling represented the biggest moment for LGBT rights in the United States since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015. In the new ruling, the justices decided that gay and transgender people are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex as well as race, colour, national origin and religion.

Workplace bias against gay and transgender employees has remained legal in much of the country, with 28 U.S. states lacking comprehensive measures against employment discrimination.

Written by Trump appointee

The rulings — in two gay rights cases from Georgia and New York and a transgender rights case from Michigan involving a funeral home employee — recognize new worker protections in federal law.

The ruling was written by conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed by President Donald Trump.

Trump’s administration had opposed the LGBT workers in the litigation.

Chief Justice John Roberts, another conservative, was also in the majority, along with the court’s four liberals.

Aimee Stephens, the funeral home worker at the centre of the Michigan case, spoke to CBC’s Day 6 after the case was heard last fall at the Supreme Court. Stephens died in May due to complications of kidney failure.

In 2013, Aimee Stephens was fired from her job after she came out to her employer as transgender and decided she would start presenting as a woman. Now her landmark case is before the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to make a decision sometime this year. 10:18

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