High Court won’t hear lesbian’s employment discrimination case
The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Dec. 11 it will not review the case of Jameka Evans, a Georgia woman who claims she was harassed in the workplace and fired from her security officer position at Georgia Regional Hospital in Savannah because she is a lesbian and wears her hair in an androgynous style.
“This was not a ‘no,’ but a ‘not yet,’ and rest assured that Lambda Legal will continue the fight, circuit by circuit as necessary, to establish that the Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual orientation discrimination,” Greg Nevins, employment fairness project director for the organization, said in a news release. “The vast majority of Americans believe that LGBT people should be treated equally in the workplace. The public is on the right side of history; it’s unfortunate that the Supreme Court has refused to join us today, but we will continue to invite them to do the right thing and end this hurtful balkanization of the right of LGBT people to be out at work.”
Nevins challenged Congress to pass a federal law banning workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Lambda Legal sought a nationwide ruling affirming that sexual orientation discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Evans originally filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District Court of Georgia in April 2015. Her complaint was dismissed. Lambda Legal then filed an appeal, citing rulings by federal district courts and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that show sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination and is thus “a prohibited employment practice.” In March 2017, a threejudge panel of the Eleventh Circuit denied the claim, and later, a request for the full circuit court to hear the case was also denied. Lambda Legal took the case to the Supreme Court in September 2017.
CDC director disputes banned words reports
Reports surfaced in late December that showed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were given a list of forbidden words prohibited from being used in preparing budget documents for 2018.
On that list were such words as “sci- Left to right: Jameka Evans and Lambda Legal’s Greg Nevins ence-based,” “evidence-based,” “fetus” and “transgender.”
But CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald tweeted that “there are no banned words at CDC. We will continue to talk about all our important public health programs,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
According to the AJC, the Department of Health and Human Services released a statement indicating nothing changed.
“The assertion that HHS has ‘ banned words’ is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process,” the statement reads. “HHS will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans. HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions.”
HIV/AIDS expert Dr. Wendy Armstrong told the AJC that “the use of words like ‘science-based,’ ‘evidence-based,’ and words to describe subsets of individuals that have unique health experiences, like ‘transgender,’ ‘fetus,’ ‘vulnerable,’ etc., are necessary.”
Election officials confirm Bottoms as Atlanta’s next mayor
The votes are in, and so is the recount: Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms will take the helm of “the city too busy to hate” in 2018. Election officials announced the results on Dec. 18.
Bottoms garnered 46,661 votes — 50.44 percent — and Norwood 45,840, or 49.56 percent, the Associated Press reported. Norwood requested a recount after the Dec. 5 runoff after Bottoms won by a margin of less than 1 percent.
Dubose Porter, chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, congratulated Bottoms, saying she “championed our Democratic values and never backed down.”
“[Bottoms] unabashedly spoke out against bigotry, sexism and discrimination,” Porter said. “She stood tall and never flinched under fire. [Bottoms] fought for her city and all of its people with love, determination, a spirit of equity and an offer of justice. This is the kind of leadership Democrats believe in.”
Both candidates courted Atlanta’s LGBT community throughout the race. Norwood was endorsed by Georgia Log Cabin Republicans in the original race, and by both Georgia Equality and lesbian former mayoral candidate Cathy Woolard in the runoff. Bottoms got the nod from Georgia Stonewall Democrats.