Iowan LGBTQ individuals celebrated a Supreme Court decision Monday that prohibits workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender employees. About one in five Iowans identify within the LGBTQ community. The decision comes halfway through June, which is annual Pride Month.
In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court added sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimation on the basis of sex in the workplace.
One Iowa is an advocacy organization based in Des Moines that works on advancing equality for LGBTQ individuals. Courtney Reyes, the executive director, said Iowa leads the way in equality. Iowa has included sexual orientation and gender identity in its anti-discrimination laws in 2007. It was one of the first states to do so.
"When you have the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, rule that this should be the law of the land, it really helps affirm that Iowa is on the right side of this," Reyes said.
Reyes said last legislative session, there were 14 anti-LGBTQ bills, but some died quickly.
"I always try to lead from the place that we celebrate this, and then we get back to work," Reyes said. "Because we know that just because this is the law of the land, does not mean that people aren't discriminated against, especially LGBTQ folks."
Reyes said it was disheartening to hear about a recent Trump administration initiative she said allows discrimination in healthcare for LGBTQ people, but she thinks the workplace decision is one small step in the right direction.