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Rochester Joins in on Support of Title VII Protection for LGBTQ+ Community

June 25, 2019 07:03 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- In 2019, you can still be fired in fifteen states for identifying as LGBTQ+. Though both Minnesota and Iowa are not among the fifteen, one Minnesota city has made it clear that they think that the list of states should be zero.

"The resolution is limiting and that we can say that the city is signing on to the theory that Title Seven of the Civil Right Acts applies to members of the LGBTQ community... it's not saying more, it's not saying less."

During the latest city council meeting, Rochester City Council voted unanimously, six to zero, to sign an amicus brief written by Freedom For All Americans. The brief says that the LGBTQ+ community should be included in the protections offered by Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act. Title 7 says that employers can not discriminate employees on the basis of sex, color, religion or national origin. And while the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission agrees the LGBTQ+ community should be protected the United States Justice Department does not. 

For Michael Hughes, the Youth Education Manager for the Diversity Council, seeing a place he's called home take steps to include the LGBTQ+ community makes him proud because fifteen years ago, he was fired from his job for being transgender.

"Fifteen years ago, I was actually fired from a job for being transgender so we've come a long way... I don't see that same thing happening today," said Hughes, saying there would be an outcry from not only the city but also those who live within it. "But Rochester's done a great job and it's really affirming to have the Mayor and the city council stand behind these protections."

The brief resolution presented at Monday night's city council meeting was requested by Mayor Kim Norton. The brief comes before three Supreme Court cases expected to be heard in October, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia,  Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda and  R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC. All three cases will help determine whether or not Title 7 applies to sexual orientation and gender indenity. 

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Blaise Keller

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