Local LGBTQ advocates react to historic Supreme Court ruling

Published: Jun. 15, 2020 at 4:23 PM EDT
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It's a victory for the LGBTQ community in the fight for equality. Monday, the Supreme Court ruled it illegal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation.

This ruling comes just days after the Trump administration reversed a regulation that prohibited discrimination of transgender people when they seek health care.

In short, it's been a troubling time for members of the LGBTQ community, even as they celebrate pride month. But this, they say, is some good news.

Sheena Barnes is the Executive Director for Equality Toledo. She says this is a win, but there’s still so much work to do. "I think it's just more motivation to keep fighting for marginalized groups across America, to say that we deserve equality and justice as anyone else."

Before Monday, nearly half of US states were without state laws that prohibited discrimination at work based on sexual orientation. Now, Barnes says everyone can be who they are at work, and be protected.

"Unfortunately it was the variance of cities that took action against, as it was never the whole entire country at once saying, this is discrimination and you cannot do it. So now, there is more protection across the country."

It hasn't been an easy Pride Month. Just Friday, the Trump administration returned the definition of "sex” in "sex discrimination" to mean a person's "biological sex", rather than gender identity, when it comes to access to health care and insurance.

"The fight is not over but we're getting closer to equality that we deserve," Barnes says.

And for Barnes, and so many, the fight for equality isn't just about gender or sexuality. Racial equality adds another level.

"Like myself as a black woman, you don't get a break because you're fighting for equality in the LGBTQ community and in the black community, and that's why I think we need to really unite together because this is not going to change unless we do that."

Leaders of Equality Toledo say they're holding a solidarity protest, on June 28th on Adams Street.

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