RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – More than 11 million people nationwide who belong to the LGBTQ community will have equal workplace protections after a Supreme Court decision on Monday.
Some LGBTQ people in North Carolina described a small sense of relief brought on by the decision.
“I’ve had to hide who I was, question who I could be out about, (and) question who I could talk about my kids with or my partner,” said Kendra Johnson, Director of Equality NC.
After years of fighting for change, Johnson views the Supreme Court victory as a small step in the right direction.
“Everyone should be valued for their intrinsic dignity and work,” Johnson said. “The only thing that should determine why we’re fired is our job performance.”
However, with three Supreme Court Justices voting against LGBTQ protections, Johnson said there’s still work to be done.
“A lot of people assume that because we’re country that believes in freedom and liberty that we are automatically protected,” Johnson said.
“Before this decision, people who were discriminated against on the basis of their gender identity of sexual orientation literally had no recourse,” added attorney Laura Noble.
Johnson said that, without large projections from the state level, many members of the LGBTQ community in North Carolina are still closeted.
“Even with this landmark decision in North Carolina, if you’re a company with 14 or less employees, you can discriminate against employees all you want,” Noble said.
Johnson added: “We now have an opportunity. When that sunsets, cities can pass these non-discrimination ordinances. We hope that the NC General Assembly will pass the Equality for All Act.”
June is Pride Month. Equality NC is asking everyone to take part in Give Out Day on June 30.
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