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Sex Discrimination Case Plaintiff Comments On The Supreme Court's Decision

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

A momentous decision by the Supreme Court today - the court ruled 6-3 that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to gay and transgender employees. In short, employers cannot fire someone simply for being gay or transgender. And joining us now is the plaintiff in one of the cases that led to this ruling. Gerald Bostock was the child welfare services coordinator in Clayton County, Ga. He recruited and trained volunteers to represent children who experienced abuse or neglect, and he alleges that he was suddenly fired from the job after it became known he played in a gay softball league. Gerald Bostock joins us now.

Congratulations on the ruling today.

GERALD BOSTOCK: Thank you. Thank you very much. It's been a great day so far (laughter).

CHANG: We should also note that your attorney, Thomas Mew, is on the line as well. And I understand, Thomas, that you may jump in as needed.

Welcome to you, too.

THOMAS MEW: Thank you so much for having us.

CHANG: So, Gerald, I understand that it has been seven years since you were fired from your job. Can you just tell me what's been going through your mind today as you've been processing the news of the court's decision?

BOSTOCK: Yeah. I'm actually still processing that, to be honest with you. But this is the moment I've been waiting for. This is the moment that has made every step of that seven-year journey worth it. You know, looking back, no regrets - no regrets at all. And I've remained optimistic throughout this seven-year period that the justices would make the right decision. And here we are today in this moment of history-making, and I'm just proud and honored that I've had a role and a part in getting us to this moment.

CHANG: Well, yes. Here we are today. I'm curious; how would you compare the importance of today's decision to the Supreme Court's decision back in 2015, when it ruled that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage? Which decision feels like a more momentous advancement to you?

BOSTOCK: Well, as part of the LGBTQ community, I don't know that I could pick or choose and look at them equally because they are both such significant decisions. And the clear message, you know, that the justices sent out this morning just echoes the fact that we all deserve to be treated equal. And it's nice to see and hear that the justices are taking steps and actions to ensure that happens, especially in these times of uncertainty and civil unrest across this country.

CHANG: Yes. I am wondering what you make of the fact that Justice Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion. He is one of the court's most conservative justices, a Trump appointee - not exactly someone identified as a staunch ally of the LGBTQ rights movement. Were you surprised that he was the one who wrote today's opinion?

BOSTOCK: Well, after hearing - or after our hearing in Washington, you know, again, I started with that optimistic feeling. And I actually...

CHANG: You're talking about oral arguments when you heard his response.

BOSTOCK: Oral arguments - correct. Yes. The comments that he made during those oral arguments, it didn't lead to any surprisement (ph) by me at all here today - none whatsoever. I'm grateful and I'm happy that it was a majority vote.

CHANG: Does today's decision, then, give you some hope that the LGBTQ rights movement can make substantive steps under the Trump administration?

BOSTOCK: Well, I think we just did, and I think we will continue to do that. And that was part of the clear message that was sent out by the United States Supreme Court justices, in my opinion.

CHANG: That is Gerald Bostock and his attorney Thomas Mew.

Thank you, both of you.

BOSTOCK: Thank you very much.

MEW: Thank you. It's been our pleasure, Ailsa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Hey, thanks for reading.
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