Minnesota civil rights activists celebrate SCOTUS ruling, focus on road ahead

The U.S. Supreme Court made a landmark decision on LGBTQ rights Monday, ruling that it is illegal for businesses to discriminate against gay, lesbian and transgender workers. The court ruled 6-3 that LGBTQ workers are protected against discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

It's a huge victory for the LGBTQ community, but local human rights advocates say there's still more work to do.

“It’s always a good day when you see the arc bending towards justice a little bit more,” said Rebecca Lucero, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

“Yesterday, in more than half the states in the country, you could still be fired for being LGBTQ - not in Minnesota, but across the country. Today, that is no longer the case.”

The decision came more than 25 years after Minnesota became the first state in the country to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

“Discrimination is pervasive and persistent across every industry. We are reminded of that yet again in the last couple of weeks. It’s nothing new; discrimination is built into the very foundation of kind of the way we do business.”

Teresa Nelson with ACLU Minnesota is also among those working to make equality a reality for all.

“We do just have so much work to do, especially when we think about violence that transgender people experience every day,” Nelson said. “We’ve got a long way to go to make sure that we’ve got a workforce that works for all Minnesotans; it does not right now, and that’s part of the conversation that we’re having across the state about making transformational change. We’re working against discrimination and bias in all of its forms.”

If you or someone that you know is facing discrimination in the workplace or maybe in public, reach out to the state's discrimination hotline at 1-833-454-0148.