As the old order crumbles before our eyes and the movement for greater equity and justice pushes forward, sweeping societal change disrupting the status quo is coming from the nation's highest court. In a pair of striking decisions, the United States Supreme Court extended protections against discrimination in the workplace to gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens and rescinded an order that could have meant the deportation of 700,000 people brought to the United States as children by their undocumented parents.
The LGBTQ rights decision extends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and now applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This simple but profound victory—from a court considered to be fundamentally conservative by observers—extends workplace protections to millions of gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. In Ohio, where the Ohio legislature has yet to extend such protections for generations, the effect will be immediate and consequential. “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch in the 6-3 decision.
The court's second important decision was more narrow but still significant. It found that a Trump Administration plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was not properly done because officials provided an insufficiently reasoned explanation for this action. The decision means that 700,000 DACA “dreamers” are safe from possible deportation and can breathe a temporary sigh of relief. While this decision was only a stop-gap solution, it does mean that the fate of DACA program will be not be decided until after this year's November presidential election.
In the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, we welcome and embrace these decisions from the highest court in the land. They serve to underscore the rapid change that is happening in our country and demonstrate how the call for racial justice and equity is echoing through our streets, courtrooms, classrooms and beyond.
As a society, we must seize the moment and act now to push forward new policies, procedures, and programs that will shatter the status quo and lift up those who have been left behind. Our country is changing in fundamental and profound ways, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion proudly walks with a new generation marching forward as these bells of freedom ring.
James L. Moore, III
Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer