President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed the most sweeping and substantive executive order regarding LGBTQ rights in U.S. history, implementing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in two cases that the Trump DOJ had failed to properly apply.
The U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled 6-3 that LGBTQ people are protected under federal employment discrimination laws, specifically Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in cases involving whether someone can be fired from their job for being gay or transgender.
The Human Rights Campaign reports: “On June 15, in a landmark ruling in the consolidated cases of Bostock v. Clayton County, Altitude Express v. Zarda and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. In July 2020, HRC spearheaded a letter along with other leading LGBTQ rights organizations to call on the Department of Justice to not delay the application of the law and fully enforce the Supreme Court’s Bostock decision. However, the Trump Justice Department failed to adequately instruct the federal government to implement the ruling, leading to dangerous misinterpretations like the one the Department of Education released last week and that issued by the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division on Sunday.
Said HRC President Alphonso David: “Biden’s Executive Order is the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States president. Today, millions of Americans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their President and their government believe discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is not only intolerable but illegal. By fully implementing the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Bostock, the federal government will enforce federal law to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, health care, housing, and education, and other key areas of life.”
“While detailed implementation across the federal government will take time,” David added, “this Executive Order will begin to immediately change the lives of the millions of LGBTQ people seeking to be treated equally under the law. The full slate of Day One Executive Orders mark a welcome shift from the politics of xenophobia and discrimination to an administration that embraces our world, its people and its dreamers. We look forward to continuing to engage with the White House, Department of Justice, and other agencies to ensure that Bostock is properly implemented across the federal government.”