Last week, in a historic victory for LGBTQIA+ civil rights, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the anti-discrimination protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protect employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
CASA of Los Angeles celebrates the Supreme Court’s ruling. We are happy to see federal law move toward workplace equality for LGBTQIA+ people. As this case dealt with discrimination in employment, we want to reaffirm our commitment to employment and program practices including recruitment, hiring, training, and advancement, that protect the rights of LGBTQIA+ employees in our workplace and among our volunteers.
We also celebrate this victory for the LGBTQIA+ community because we understand the significance for the children and youth we serve. LGBTQIA+ youth are over-represented in foster care. A 2019 study by Children’s Rights found that over 30 percent (30%) of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQIA+, compared to 11 percent (11%) of youth not in foster care. This happens because too often LGBTQIA+ youth face rejection, hatred, and violence in their own homes when they come out to their families. Then, while in foster care, LGBTQIA+ youth often face harassment, further abuse, and multiple placements, especially those youth who end up in juvenile justice facilities and homeless shelters. Transgender youth are at particular risk, facing bullying and abuse and then, too often, criminalized for responding in self-defense.
This case hit close to home for us, as we learned this week that one of the plaintiffs, Gerald Bostock, was an employee of a county-run CASA program in Clayton County, Georgia. CASA programs are all independent of each other, affiliated voluntarily with state and national associations, but we feel an obligation to specifically speak out on this issue. At CASA of Los Angeles, we are committed to continuing our work passionately advocating for LGBTQIA+ youth in foster care and adults who are our employees and volunteers. We are encouraged that many of our fellow CASA programs are doing the same and we invite all CASA programs to support the work of love, justice and equality.
The fight for civil rights for the LGBTIA+ community continues. We celebrate this move in the right direction, knowing that each of us has a responsibility to ensure that our LGBTQIA+ family members, neighbors, friends, and colleagues are treated with dignity and respect in all avenues of life. We celebrate with a continuing commitment to working for a more equitable and just Los Angeles.
The Staff and Board of Directors of CASA of Los Angeles,