This week, SCOTUS ruled that it is against the law to fire someone for being LGBTQ. Finally. - News from The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island, ACLU of Rhode Island News, RIACLU News


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This week, SCOTUS ruled that it is against the law to fire someone for being LGBTQ. Finally.

Posted: June 17, 2020|Category: Discrimination Category: LGBT Rights Category: Racial/Ethnic Discrimination Category: Free Speech

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This week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is against the law for an employer to fire someone for being LGBTQ. FINALLY.

This landmark victory is the result of decades of work by LGBTQ people who have spoken out against discrimination – sometimes risking their lives.

It’s a fitting victory for this year’s Pride month, which unlike previous years, has less opportunity for public celebration due to the public health crisis and need for social distancing.  RI PrideFest has been cancelled, along with many of the festive parties, and protests over racial injustice and inequality - fights which the LGBTQ community is intertwined with - have erupted nationwide. 

Not surprisingly, the LGBTQ community is joining in because the history of Pride is rooted in this community standing up to discrimination, violence – including police violence – and abuse.

NOTE: Rhode Island Pride’s 2020 Resistance and Resilience Rallyfor QTPOC will take place June 20th @ 4:30 marching the same route as the very first Pride in RI and on the same date circa 1976. They will start with a rally at Cathedral Square and march to the State House for a second rally following as closely as possible the original route of 1976.


As the ACLU’s Trans Justice Campaign Manager LaLa Zannell said: “For many Black and Brown queer and trans people, gathering in person has always come with a health and safety risk — including from law enforcement, and others who feel they have the right to harm us for simply being who we are … For many of us, this is not the first pandemic that shows the injustices in our health care, economic, and criminal justice systems.” 

For decades, the ACLU of RI has defended people in the LGBTQ community and advocated for LGBTQ rights and equality at the State House.  In fact, in 1976, we filed a lawsuit so the state’s first Pride parade could happen after the organizers had been denied a parade permit by the city.

And in 2006, the Affiliate was co-counsel in Doe v. Dan’s Donuts, a lawsuit which claimed that Doe was fired from his job after his employer learned that he was gay and HIV positive.

More recently, we prompted the RI Department of Education to mandate that all school districts in the state have comprehensive policies in place to protect trans and gender non-conforming students from discrimination.

So much of the fight for justice and equality is interrelated. And despite today’s historic ruling, there remains so much work to do. The sobering reality is that many, many people – Black people, LGBTQ people and others – still face discrimination, harassment and violence DAILY.

These victories have been critical, and only further emphasize that this year Pride month is about bending the arc of history further towards justice - for all who continue to face discrimination and violence.  Click here for more info about the rally on June 20.

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