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Between sunrise and sunset yesterday, a historic win for civil rights

When I started neighborhood political organizing in 1994, it was to fight against attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community right here in Oregon.

Which is why I was so gratified to see what happened in the Supreme Court yesterday.

In a 6-3 decision written by ultra-conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch (!), the US Supreme Court ruled yesterday that employers cannot discriminate against LGBTQIA+ workers.

It's been more than a dozen years since Oregonians made it illegal for employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity, so we may not realize what this decision means for the rest of the country.

But make no mistake: yesterday, we witnessed history.

Once again, Oregon led the way. We made progress at the state level, led the nation toward a new standard for equality, and now we've reached long-awaited protection from workplace discrimination for everyone.

Yesterday at sunrise, it was legal in 26 states to mistreat or fire someone because of who they loved or if they weren't born cisgender. By sunset, it wasn't legal anywhere.

Even in these tense times, when our leaders attack our sense of community and warp our shared values, we can make progress. It's slow, and it's frustrating, and it's not always satisfying. But it is real, and it is possible when we stand together to defend our values.

Even as we celebrate this historic win for civil rights, let's commit to continue to protect and expand basic rights for all. Let's get it done.


Posted on June 16, 2020.