WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) today praised an 8-3 ruling by the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals affirming that the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s prohibition of sex discrimination also extends to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Notably, five of the eight justices who ruled for extending protections were Republican appointees, illustrating the significant gains the LGBT community has made towards acceptance and inclusion in recent years. While many recent advances came through the courts, Tuesday’s ruling in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College is the first time an en banc panel – meaning all of the judges sitting on the 7th circuit – jointly decided a case on discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation.
“The 7th circuit decision is a huge victory for Gay and Lesbian couples and everyone who shares in their cause,” Rep. Grijalva said. “From the freedom to marry, to equal protections against workplace discrimination, the march towards equality for the LGBT community is gaining momentum and new supporters every day.”
To help address the unique threats and challenges the LGBT community faces every day, Rep. Grijalva introduced the LGBT Data Inclusion Act in June of 2016. The legislation would require federal agencies to include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in population surveys like the census. The data collected would give policy makers and elected leaders a much better understanding of the size, demographics and socioeconomic realities of the LGBT community.
“To go uncounted in our society is to be unseen by decision makers in Washington, as this court case clearly shows,” Grijalva continued. “To extend these protections more than 50 years after the Civil Rights Act became law is to admit our error in denying the LGBT community of them for more than half a century. Policymakers must start collecting data to see just how pervasive workplace discrimination and other issues are for the LGBT community. This historic ruling emphasizes how reprehensible it is that this community continues to be left out when our nation decides who to count.”
More information about the LGBT Data Inclusion Act is available here.