In all of the chaos embroiling the nation presently, there was a ray of hope on Monday, when a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court realized that it’s 2020.
The nation’s highest court ruled in a 6-3 decision that discrimination against anyone based on sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal — something the West Virginia Legislature and state Supreme Court of Appeals have failed to recognize, despite numerous attempts and opportunities.
The Legislature frequently has examined bills to protect the LGBTQ community under the state’s anti-discrimination law, but it has never been able to pass them. Some legislators have even tried to remove such protections enacted by city governments within the state.
In the past, some detractors said changing the state law would give the LGBTQ community unnecessary or more-than-equal protection under the law, which makes little sense and simply isn’t true. It’s also an insult to the struggle those fighting for equal protection have waged.
The other prominent argument against such action is that it would trigger a massive amount of lawsuits. This is faulty logic. It assumes it is only natural to discriminate against someone based on their sexual preference or gender identity, and losing that would be bad for business, because everyone would be sued. What a terrible way of viewing the world. Yes, there is discrimination. Otherwise, there would be no fight. But the solution is to right the wrong and trust that most people are already there.
West Virginia officials, legislators and judges need fret no more, as the federal court has done their job for them.
People have always been created equal, it’s just taken society and its governing rules a long time to catch on to the fact that someone’s skin color, religion or gender should not prohibit them from being treated fairly when seeking employment, housing or services.
Sexual preference and gender identity are a natural extension of that, which is essentially what Justice Neil Gorsuch said in the majority opinion he issued. The Supreme Court was going off of old law — a section of the Civil Rights Act enacted in 1964 — and recognizing applicability that was, really, past due.
Looking at history, most of these things happen long after they should, but it’s better late than never, and it’s better to see hope for the country and humanity on the horizon, rather than dismay and strife.