Supreme Court Ruling Set to Improve the Lives of LGBTQ+ Tennesseans

Until today, LGBTQ+ Tennesseans had no legal protections from sexual orientation or gender discrimination in employment. That is no longer the case, nationwide! In a surprise for many advocates, the Supreme Court, which is currently a conservative majority (5-4), ruled (6-3) this morning, Monday, June 15, 2020, that employers cannot fire employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The decision in the case, "BOSTOCK v. CLAYTON COUNTY, GEORGIA," was written by one of the Court's conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch, who has closely aligned with the judicial philosophy of Antonin Scalia, but who was mentored by Anthony Kennedy.


In short, the court ruled: "An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or

transgender violates Title VII. (a) Title VII makes it 'unlawful . . . for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate

against any individual . . . because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.' 42 U. S. C. §2000e–2(a)(1)."

In the conclusion of the majority opinion, Gorsuch writes: "Ours is a society of written laws. Judges are not free to overlook plain statutory commands on the strength of nothing more than suppositions about intentions or guesswork about expectations. In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee. We do not hesitate to recognize today a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law."

Given it's authorship, the ruling is clear and profound. "This opinion is huge, as big as winning marriage equality," said Abby Rubenfeld, a Nashville-based attorney who was part of the legal team arguing marriage equality before SCOTUS, and who played an integral role in SCOTUS invalidating Sodomy laws.  "That Justice Gorsuch, appointed by Trump and being ultra-conservative, wrote the amazing opinion is even more huge.  He states what many of us saw as obvious, but that he too sees it as obvious will make a dramatic difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ people.  This likely means that the Friday decision to discriminate against trans people in health care is a prohibited act.  Today is a great day during a really difficult time!"

Effectively, this ruling extends protections for LGBTQ+ workers across the United States. In states like Tennessee which explicitly rejected such protections, this is a watershed. As Christopher Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), said, "This decision is incredibly important for LGBTQ people in Tennessee where we had no employment protections unless an individual employer decided to include them. TEP and other LGBTQ organizations in our state have regularly received calls over the years from people who have been fired or not hired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and until now there has been no good remedy for them. This decision gives us good momentum for building more protections in Tennessee."

Unfortunately, as Sanders points out, there is still much room for work, but it may affect the focus: "Many of the discriminatory bills in Tennessee are in the areas of education and health care, so the ruling would not immediately stop those bills. We will still have to fight against attacks on transgender youth.  This ruling still doesn't ban conversion therapy and it doesn't immediately affect many areas of LGBTQ rights like housing."

Further, Sanders expects some states may try to work around the requirement, and Tennessee will likely be among those. However, he's hopeful. "I can also imagine far Right think tanks would work on ways for states to try to get around the ruling so we may see deviously creative state legislation next year.  But overall the ruling gives us all more power to fight back."


Check back at O&AN for updates on the local impact of this ruling

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less