NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Five years ago, Tennesseans celebrated marriage equality becoming legal during pride month. This year, another big win for LBGTQ Tennesseans.
The Supreme Court has ruled that LGBTQ employees are protected under federal employment discrimination laws in a landmark decision.
In a 6-3 ruling, the court affirmed that employers cannot discriminate or unfairly fire LGBTQ people in the workplace.
"We saw two conservative justices cross over for the 6-3 ruling and it surprised us all," said Joe Woolley, the CEO of the Nashville LGBT Chamber. "It's great to have conservative justices say equal protection is necessary."
Woolley says this is a huge step forward. He tells us roughly 11 million people identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer and 88% of them are employed.
As a vital part of the economy, Woolley says they deserve equal treatment under the law.
"Relief is a good word for it, we were worried it would go the other direction but doesn't mean its over either," said Woolley.
Although their work isn't finished yet, Woolley says this is a victory, especially during this contentious time in our country, where so many are fighting for equality.
Like so many other organizations, Nashville Pride has been forced to cancel all their in-person events this month due to COVID-19 and replace them with virtual events.
There's still some hope that they can postpone their festival to this fall, but for now, Woolley encourages folks to attend their virtual events.