PRESS RELEASE 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
June 18, 2020

Contact: Sandra Hernandez
(310) 386-5768
shernandez@maldef.org

 

 

NHLA Applauds Supreme Court’s Employment Protections for LGBTQ Workers, Warns There Is More Work to Be Done

(WASHINGTON D.C.) – The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of more than 40 of the most influential national Latino civil rights organizations in the country, wholeheartedly commends the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States affirming that LGBTQ people cannot be fired because of who they are or who they love. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) siblings.

NHLA makes federal policy recommendations that affect the 60 million Hispanics in the United States, of which at least 1.4 million identify as LGBTQ. NHLA’s 2016 Policy Agenda called for policies to enhance protections against employment discrimination on many bases, such as national origin and LGBTQ identity.

While the Supreme Court’s decision is great progress in this regard, there is still much to do. NHLA also calls for protections for LGBTQ people in other areas of public life, such as health care; housing; public accommodations; immigration, especially addressing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention practices for transgender persons; protecting LGBTQ youth, including ending conversion therapy; and more robust confidential data collection and statistics by the federal government to better serve LGBTQ people. Even as the employment discrimination provisions of the proposed Equality Act are now interpreted into Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, we continue to support the enactment of its remaining protections, which would forbid anti-LGBTQ discrimination in housing, credit, public accommodations, education, federally funded programs, and jury service, among other civil rights. Our upcoming 2020 Policy Agenda will address those issues and more.

While Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, we must all continue to work to dismantle systemic racism to ensure we are all truly free and can enjoy the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

“The Bostock decision is an extraordinary and righteous step forward for our nation; eliminating discrimination against gay and transgender workers will inevitably boost our economy as these workers are able to bring their full selves and all of their talents to the work environment,” said Thomas A. Saenz, NHLA Chair and President and General Counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund).  “We now must work to ensure that all workers, including gay and transgender members of the Latinx community, receive this protection from discrimination in their day-to-day work; we call upon all employers, public and private, to take immediate steps to implement the Supreme Court’s important determination.”

“I know many Hispanics and other Americans who have been victims of workplace discrimination just for being LGBTQ, including myself,” said Guillermo Mena, NHLA LGBTQ Task Force Co-Chair and Director of Legislation, Policy and Advocacy for the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL). “The Supreme Court’s decision gives all of us the tools to defend ourselves and educate, as we strive for pay equity and other workplace rights. We must continue to engage to also achieve equality in housing, credit, sex education and other areas, including closing loopholes in LGBTQ protections. The Hispanic state legislators on whose behalf I serve are committed to make this happen. And, as we witness and protest the abuses of power due to systemic racism, we must not forget that trans immigrants continue to also suffer degrading abuses at the hands of ICE.”

“This historic 6-3 civil rights ruling by the High Court is the most impactful decision for LGBTQ individuals since the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling for same-sex marriage, with an even wider reach,” said Frankie Miranda, President, Hispanic Federation. “While many people may not choose to get married, every LGBTQ person who works, wants to do so without facing discrimination because of who they are or who they love. But until our nation’s laws address systemic racism, our pursuit for equality will fall short. The impacts of anti-LGBTQ discrimination are felt disproportionately by LGBTQ people of color – these fights for equality are intrinsically tied. Hispanic Federation will continue our work to dismantle systemic racism and discrimination at all levels until the laws of this country reflect our values of justice and real equality. While we have far more work to do, we can and should celebrate this extraordinary decision.”

“We are very glad to see the Supreme Court expand worker protections to include eliminating discrimination against LGBTQ community members. As the leading organization mobilizing the Latin@ community to end domestic and sexual violence, we recognize how important workplace rights are to enhance economic access and prevent abuse,” said Patricia Tototzintle, CEO of Casa de Esperanza National Latin@ Network. “We also realize there is a long way to go in preventing discrimination and increasing access to housing, health care, and other critical services, and in addressing the high levels of violence against individuals in the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender women of color, and we reaffirm the commitment to work together to accomplish those goals.”

“The Supreme Court’s recognition that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1964 is a welcome and important decision,” said Bruce Goldstein, Farmworker Justice, President. “Farmworkers generally face numerous challenges in achieving justice in the workplace but for LGBT farmworkers the obstacles have been especially difficult and painful.  Now we all must work to ensure the enforcement of the rights of LGBTQ workers, including the essential workers on our farms and ranches.”

“All of us who hold jobs know that a fair, safe and dignified environment is critical for our well-being inasmuch as we spend so many hours at work,” said Juan Cartagena, President & General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “This decision by the Supreme Court reaffirms that workplace discrimination is a significant problem in our country and it finally expands the law’s protection to our LGBTQ familia. Now is the time to eliminate this pernicious discrimination in other aspects of society.”

“Being Latinx means that you belong to a comunidad. It’s no secret that our culture runs rampant with anti-Black, homophobic, colonization, and anti-Trans sentiments. As Latinx, it’s our job to shut down the hate and discrimination within our own communities,” said Brenda Victoria Castillo, President & CEO, National Hispanic Media Coalition. “Even if that means having uncomfortable conversations, calling family members and friends out, and reflecting inward about how we each contribute to systemic discrimination. This kind of work–work that creates a comunidad that empowers all Latinx–is noble, and relies on a collective team effort to be better.”

“This is a game-changing landmark decision and a hard-fought, monumental win for our friends and partners in the LGBTQ community,” stated Janet Murguia, UnidosUS President and CEO. “It is now time for Congress to finish the work of ensuring full civil rights for LGBTQ Americans by passing the Equality Act.”

“Voto Latino was one of the first Latinx-led organizations to publicly support same-sex marriage and champion the rights and dignity of the LGBTQ+ community upon our founding, fifteen years ago,” said María Teresa Kumar, President and CEO of Voto Latino. “This decision is very encouraging and desperately needed. Nevertheless, we must continue fighting for true equity for our LGBTQ+ community. We seek to live in a just world where one’s identity or who one loves does not impede them from fulfilling their aspirations and dreams.”

 

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(The policy positions of NHLA do not reflect the views of every member organization, but reflect the decisions of NHLA as a whole.)

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