A look at top cases for the Supreme Court’s new term

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.

WASHINGTON (AP) | The biggest cases before the Supreme Court are often the last ones to be decided, and the focus on the court will be especially intense in June, just a few months before the 2020 election.

A look at some of the high-profile cases the court will hear in its term that begins Monday and runs through early summer 2020, and when the cases are being argued, if a date has been set:

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Trump comes out against Equality Act

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With a vote on the Equality Act in the U.S. House expected on Friday, a senior administration official indicated exclusively to the Washington Blade that President Trump opposes the bill.

“The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” the senior administration official said via email.

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Equality Act returns — with House Democrats in majority

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Optimistic about the prospects of enshrining a prohibition on anti-LGBT discrimination into federal law with a new Democratic majority in the U.S. House, Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation known as the Equality Act to make that long-sought goal a reality.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) chief sponsors of the Equality Act in their respective chambers of Congress, on Wednesday trumpeted the introduction of the legislation with great fanfare during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol.

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Levi’s, Yelp join coalition pledging not to discriminate

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Levi Strauss, Yelp and Lyft are leading a coalition of 1,200 businesses and cities that are pledging not to discriminate against employees or customers based on race, sexual orientation, or other characteristics.

Normally, making a promise to serve every customer might seem like a no-brainer. But the Open to All coalition is launching in a highly charged atmosphere, with florists refusing to provide flowers for gay weddings and stores turning away Muslim customers. On the same June weekend that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant because of her affiliation with President Donald Trump, a transgender woman was harassed by staff at a Washington restaurant for using the women’s restroom.

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‘Fierce warriors’ rally against Trump plan to undo trans health rule

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Transgender advocates rallied in opposition to a Trump administration plan to undo a transgender health care rule. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Transgender rights advocates rallied Tuesday night in defiance of Trump administration plans to roll back a rule under Obamacare barring health care providers from denying treatment to transgender people, including gender reassignment surgery.

The attendees congregated at the headquarters of the AFL-CIO near the White House as the Trump administration considers reversing the Obama-era rule interpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which bars sex discrimination in health care, to apply to transgender people.

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2nd Circuit rules Title VII bars anti-gay workplace discrimination

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In a major ruling affirming protections for lesbian, gay and bisexual workers, a federal appeals court in New York City ruled Monday employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In a 69-page “en banc” decision from the full court, the Second Circuit finds Donald Zarda, a now deceased skydiver who alleges he was fired from Altitude Express for being gay, can sue under existing civil rights law because sexual-orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.

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DOJ seeks time to argue for anti-gay baker in Supreme Court case

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The U.S. Justice Department under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is seeking a time slot of 10 minutes before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue on behalf of a Colorado baker who wishes to refuse the sale of make wedding cakes for same-sex couples.

U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed the two-page request Wednesday before the Supreme Court in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

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Sessions undoes DOJ support for trans workers under Title VII

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Bucking a string of court rulings and the views of a separate U.S. agency, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday reversed the Justice Department’s support for the legal view trans workers are eligible for non-discrimination protections under current civil rights law.

In a two-page memo dated Oct. 4, Sessions informed Justice Department attorneys the U.S. government will no longer view the prohibition on sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to apply to discrimination on the basis of transgender status.

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Two U.S. agencies at odds over protecting gays under Title VII

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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NEW YORK — Two U.S. agencies — the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — were at odds Tuesday in arguments before a federal appeals court over whether existing civil rights law bars anti-gay employment discrimination.

Meanwhile, judges on the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals gave conflicting signals on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual workers, making a ruling in favor of gay rights anything but assured.

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Trump’s EEOC nominees ‘wishy-washy’ on LGBT workplace rights

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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President Trump’s nominees for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during recent congressional testimony — described by one Democratic senator as “wishy-washy” — signaled they may reverse the agency’s position that current federal law against sex discrimination applies to LGBT people.

Under questioning during their confirmation hearing on Tuesday, both nominees — Janet Dhillon, Trump’s choice to become the next chair of the commission, and Daniel Gade, Trump’s choice to fill a vacancy — were non-committal about upholding EEOC’s determinations Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination against LGBT workers.

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Lawsuit seeking gay protections under Title VII reaches Supreme Court

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The question of whether lesbian, gay and bisexual people are covered under current federal civil rights law has reached the U.S. Supreme Court — where a nationwide ruling would clarify anti-gay workplace discrimination is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In a 30-page filing, the LGBT group Lambda Legal makes the case the high court should take up to clarify the nationwide prohibition on sex discrimination in the workplace under Title VII applies to cases of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

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Florida Christian ministry sues watchdog group over hate label

By : Wire Report
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – A Florida-based evangelical ministry is suing a liberal watchdog organization that called it a hate group because of its stance against LGBT rights.

The federal religious discrimination lawsuit was filed this week by D. James Kennedy Ministries of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, against the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center. It seeks an unspecified amount of money.

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