Led by Housing Works, more than 100 protestors were arrested at the Supreme Court on October 8 as justices heard oral arguments in a series of cases that could determine whether sexual orientation and gender identity are protected classes under the law.
Capitol Police in Washington, DC, confirmed to Gay City News that 133 people were arrested for unlawfully demonstrating at First and East Capitol Streets, NE. All protestors arrested were charged with “Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding,” Capitol Police spokesperson Eva Malecki said.
Protestors were yelling chants like, “No fear, no hate, no license to discriminate!”
The protests were scheduled in advance by Housing Works, which announced plans in September to sponsor multiple buses carrying folks from New York City early in the morning to the Supreme Court for the three pivotal cases involving people who argued that they were fired due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Specifically, the court is determining whether sexual orientation or gender identity can be covered under the definition of sex in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Housing Works stated that more than 500 people participated in the protests, which were supported by groups including ACT UP NY, ACT UP Philadelphia, Amida Care, Bailey House, Brown and Black Workers Cooperative, Caribbean Equality Project, Center for Popular Democracy, End AIDS Now, Harlem United, New York Transgender Advocacy Group, New York State Nurses Association, Queerocracy, Reclaim Pride Coalition, Rise and Resist, and VOCAL-NY.
“133 arrested and over 500 participants,” Housing Works tweeted during the afternoon of October 8. “Thank you, everyone.”
The cases, which are all appeals, represent tests for President Donald Trump’s two Supreme Court appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Two of the cases involve out gay men who said they were fired due to their sexual orientation — Gerald Lynn Bostock was booted from Georgia’s Clayton County Court System and Donald Zarda was terminated from a skydiving company, Altitude Express — while a third case involves a transgender funeral home director, Aimee Stephens, who said she was fired by her boss when she came out as trans.
It is not clear if Housing Works is planning further demonstrations, but a spokesperson told Gay City News last month, “We are in this for the long haul, and we encourage everyone to bring their energy and talent to this fight.”
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