A crowd gathered on 39th Street in northwest Oklahoma City Monday night to celebrate an unexpected landmark ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.
“It is illegal for someone to fire someone for being transgender or being a member of the LGBTQ community and that is a huge deal,” one speaker said.
In a 6-3 decision, the court found that firing someone because of their gender identity violated Title XII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“When I first saw the news, I had to reread it a couple times,” said Peyton Vann, an Oklahoma resident who said the ruling relaxed some worry about his current job search.
“On all of the (job) applications, it says that it’s an equal opportunity employer based on sex, religion, race, but I never saw sexual orientation. So, when I was applying for jobs, I was always concerned that maybe I wouldn’t be able to get a job.”
Monday’s event was put on outside the Diversity Center of Oklahoma, and was hosted by Freedom Oklahoma, the ACLU of Oklahoma, and other groups including the OKC chapter of Black Lives Matter.
“We go through our professional lives, our business lives looking over our shoulder. I didn’t tell my employer for the longest time,” said Mike Redman, an attorney with the ACLU of Oklahoma and a gay man. The ruling, he said, sets precedent across the country but there are still improvements to be made at the state level.
“There are many states around the country that have enacted their own state protections for LGBTQ individuals, Oklahoma is not one of them.”