Schumer Floor Remarks On Landmark Supreme Court Ruling In Bostock v. Clayton County That Federal Non-Discrimination Laws Protect LGBTQ Americans From Employment Discrimination

June 15, 2020

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia in which the court ruled that federal employment discrimination protections extend to LGBTQ employees. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

This morning, the long march for equality for LGBTQ Americans took a step forward. The Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that federal employment discrimination protections do, in fact, extend to LGBTQ Americans.

Believe it or not, before today, it was not a settled legal matter that you could sue your employer for firing you solely on the basis of sexual orientation or sexual identity. In 2020 in America, it was still okay to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation or identity. Is that unbelievable? Twenty-first century, still allowed? Well, now it isn't because of the Supreme Court, and they deserve credit for that case. And one of the cases that formed the basis of today’s ruling originated in my home state of New York, where a skydiving instructor was fired for admitting his sexual orientation.

So today, the Supreme Court did the right thing and ruled that workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is just as unlawful as discrimination on the basis of gender, race, or religion. Of course, the ruling in no way diminishes our efforts here in Congress to pass the Equality Act, led by my colleagues Senators Merkley, Baldwin, and Booker, that would be the great leap forward on equality that we’re all looking for. It passed the House over a year ago, but it’s been gathering dust in Leader McConnell’s legislative graveyard.

Senate Republicans are still not in the 21st century. They must think it's okay to discriminate against people because of their orientation or identity. Unbelievable. Unbelievable. But maybe now the fact that even a few justices appointed by Republican presidents believe that it was against the law, maybe that will prick the hearts of our Republican colleagues and Leader McConnell and they'll allow a vote on the Equality Act here on the floor.

But even without the Senate and its backwards ways, it is clear that the country is moving in the right direction.