Full US court in Chicago hears LGBT-workplace bias appeal

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

CHICAGO (AP) — A full-court hearing has heard arguments on whether the 1964 Civil Rights Act covers workplace discrimination against LGBT workers.

A lawyer for an Indiana college sued by a lesbian told the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday it does not and that only Congress can extend those protections.

But Judge Richard Posner said courts sometimes broadened a law’s scope and suggested it may be time to broaden the 52-year-old landmark law.

Posner asked, “Who will be hurt if gays and lesbians have a little more job protection?” Attorney John Maley said he couldn’t think of anyone. Posner responded, “So, what’s the big deal?”

The law bars workplace bias based on race, religion or sex. Maley said Congress didn’t intend for the word ‘sex’ to include sexual-orientation discrimination.