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Gorsuch emerges as possible LGBT ally in Supreme Court arguments

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Jeff Zarillo, Paul Katami, Sandy Stier, Kris Perry, David Boies, Chad Griffin, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, Proposition 8, Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, Prop 8, California, Supreme Court, gay news, Washington Blade

The U.S. Supreme Court hear arguments on LGBT-inclusion under Title VII. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

When the dust cleared Tuesday after two hours of arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court on whether anti-LGBT discrimination is prohibited under federal civil rights law, U.S. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch emerged a potential — but not definite — potential ally for LGBT workers.

Gorsuch, a Trump-appointed justice who considered himself a textualist, asked many questions suggesting he’s at least considering the idea of anti-LGBT discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, thus prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

If LGBT rights supporters eke out a victory from the Supreme Court in its decision, they may well have Gorsuch on the divided court for crossing them over the finish line.

Throughout the arguments, Gorsuch made several inquiries on whether the concept of sex is inseparable from anti-LGBT discrimination. At one point, Gorsuch asked, “Isn’t sex also at play here?” and gave an example of a employer firing a man for being attracted to another man as an example of sex discrimination.

To be sure, Gorsuch also asked questions about whether employers could keep sex-segregated bathrooms under LGBT-inclusive Title VII.

Gorsuch poised one question in particular the David Cole, national legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, that may best offer a glimpse in the justice’s internal.

“Assume for a moment that I’m with you on the textual argument. Should the court be concerned about the massive social upheaval that would ensue?”

(With respect to transgender protections. Cole said there would be no upheaval, citing decades of case law affirming anti-trans discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.)

The Supreme Court agreed to the adjudicate LGBT workplace as a result of taking up the consolidated cases of Zarda v. Altitude Express and Bostock v. Clayton County, which seeks resolution on whether anti-gay discrimination is illegal under Title VII, and EEOC v. Harris Funeral Homes, which seeks resolution on whether anti-trans discrimination is illegal under the law.

According to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, non-discrimination protections for an estimated 4.1 million LGBT people in states without LGBT civil rights are at stake in the upcoming decision.

Although Title VII relates specifically to employment, any decision the Supreme Court reaches will have impact on other laws barring sex discrimination, such as the Fair Housing, the Affordable Care Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Therefore, the decision will impact LGBT people not just in the workplace, but also housing, health care and education.

Gorsuch was one of three justices who were carefully under watch during oral arguments as potential swing votes on whether LGBT people is prohibited under Title VII.

Another was Chief Justice John Roberts, who during the 2015 marriage equality arguments entertained the idea of anti-gay discrimination being a form of sex discrimination.

But four years later in the Title VII arguments, Roberts was unequivocally on the side anti-LGBT discrimination is not a form of sex discrimination.

Roberts’ questions pointed out Congress didn’t intend to include LGBT people in 1964, bathroom issues and states doing the job to ban anti-LGBT discrimination.

Another justice of interest was Brett Kavanaugh, but the newly confirmed Trump appointee kept his cards exceedingly close to his vest.

Kavanaugh asked only one question: A legal technical inquiry on the difference between the plain and ordinary meaning of Title VII.

The oral arguments on the two issues consisted of two hours with discussion on sexual-orientation discrimination in the first hour and anti-transgender discrimination in the second.

But the discussion on both subjects often sloshed over the both sides. For example, the question of transgender people using bathrooms came during sexual-orientation portion, and John Bursch, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, brought up the idea of religion institutions being able to terminate employees who enter into a same-sex marriage.

It’s certainly possible the Supreme Court could reach one decision with respect to transgender employees, and another with respect to gay, lesbian and bisexual workers (especially considering the case law among lower courts for transgender people is significantly more developed). But justices gave no indication whatsoever they’d reach two separate decisions.

It’s unclear when the Supreme Court will render its decision, but because justices are hearing the cases early in their term, they’re expected to issue a ruling well before the terms ends in June 2020.

More to come…

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Community Services - PSA

LA County Parks after Dark program celebrates 50th anniversary of Title IX

Parks & Rec offers sport opportunities for girls in flag football, soccer, softball, basketball, lacrosse, cheerleading and volleyball

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – On Thursday, June 23, 2022, 34 participating Parks After Dark (PAD) parks will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Title IX with a highly anticipated girls’ sports clinic and showcase starting at 6:00 p.m.

More than 1,800 girls, ages 5 to 18 will have the opportunity to learn skills and techniques from various sports such as soccer, lacrosse, softball, basketball and cheerleading. Sports will vary at each park.

In 1972, Title IX, the civil rights legislation that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other college sports was passed into law to provide equal opportunity, scholarships and participation for girls in sports. In 2022, the department of Parks and Recreation is striving to offer girls sports County-wide to support the vision of Title IX and aiming for gender equity across all sports programs.

“The department’s goal is to provide a safe space dedicated for girls to play, increase opportunities for women coaches and administrators and to provide a positive experience while participating in sports,” says Regina Bradley, LA County Parks and Recreation Sports Manager.

The department currently offers sport opportunities for girls in flag football, soccer, softball, basketball, lacrosse, cheerleading and volleyball.

Parks After Dark is an award-winning program designed to bring communities together by filling park spaces with family-centered activities that transform local parks into summer safe havens. This summer’s program lineup will feature an array of girls’ sports programs to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which paved the way to gender equity for girl’s participation in sports.

The L.A. County Parks after Dark program is possible thanks to the generosity of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors – First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, Second District Supervisor and Board Chair Holly J. Mitchell, Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn and Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger – L.A. County Chief Executive Office, L.A. County Department of Public Social Services, L.A. County Probation Department and many community-based organizations throughout L.A. County.

“Now more than ever, L.A. County families need park spaces to heal from the trauma brought on by COVID-19 combined with the financial stress many people are facing,” L.A. County Parks Executive Director Norma Edith García-González said. “Parks after Dark eliminates barriers to recreational opportunities and introduces families to no cost enriching experiences that promote mental and physical health through fun and games.”

Parks After Dark, launched in 2010, has proven to be a successful prevention and intervention program that provides multiple benefits to vulnerable communities,decreasing violence and crime, and increasing social cohesion and community well-being. In 2018, Parks After Dark was recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association, which presented L.A. County Parks and Recreation with its Best in Innovation award.

For more information on Parks After Dark, visit https://parks.lacounty.gov/PAD.

All PAD parks will host programs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6:00-10:00PM between June 16th and August 6th:

Jackie Robinson Park – 8773 E. Avenue R, Littlerock

Stephen Sorenson Park – 16801 E. Avenue P, Lake Los Angeles

George Lane Park – 5520 W. Ave L-8, Quartz Hill

Val Verde Community Regional Park – 30300 W. Arlington Rd., Val Verde

El Cariso Community Regional Park – 13100 Hubbard St., Sylmar

Loma Alta Park – 3330 N. Lincoln Ave., Altadena

Pamela County Park – 2236 Goodall Ave., Duarte

Valleydale Park – 5525 N. Lark Ellen Ave., Azusa

Charter Oak Park – 20261 E. Covina Blvd., Covina

San Angelo Park – 245 S. San Angelo Ave., La Puente

Bassett Park – 510 N. Vineland Ave., La Puente

Allen J. Martin Park – 14830 E. Giordano St., La Puente

Rimgrove Park – 747 N. Rimgrove Dr., La Puente

William Steinmetz Park – 1545 S, Stimson Ave., Hacienda Heights

Amigo Park – 5700 S. Juarez Ave., Whittier

Sorenson Park – 11419 Rose Hedge Dr., Whittier

Adventure Park – 10130 S. Gunn Ave., Whittier

Amelia Mayberry Park – 13201 E. Meyer Rd., Whittier

City Terrace Park – 1126 N. Hazard Ave., East Los Angeles

Eugene A. Obregon Park – 4021 E. First St., Los Angeles

Belvedere Community Regional Park – 4914 E. Cesar Chavez Ave., Los Angeles

Ruben Salazar Park – 3864 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles

Saybrook Park – 6250 E. Northside Dr., East Los Angeles

East Rancho Dominguez Park – 15116 S. Atlantic Ave., Compton

Mona Park – 2291 E. 121st St., Compton

Athens Park – 12603 S. Broadway, Los Angeles

Mary M. Bethune Park – 1244 E. 61st St., Los Angeles

Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park – 905 E. El Segundo Blvd, Los Angeles

Helen Keller Park – 12521 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles

Jesse Owens Community Regional Park – 9651 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles

Franklin D. Roosevelt Park – 7600 Graham Ave., Los Angeles

Ted Watkins Memorial Park – 1335 E. 103rd St., Los Angeles

Col. Leon H. Washington Park – 8908 S. Maie Ave., Los Angeles

George Washington Carver Park – 1400 E. 118th St., Los Angeles

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Community Services - PSA

LA County Parks & Rec invites folks to Juneteenth at Jackie Robinson Park

FREE Performances, Guest Speaker Series, Games, Art Displays, Car Exhibits and So Much More this Saturday!

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – It’s Park Time L.A. County! LA County Parks and Recreation invites you to our Juneteenth celebration, on Saturday, June 18th from 10am to 10pm at Jackie Robinson Park (8773 E Avenue R Sun Village).

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States; specifically, when former slaves were finally freed in Galveston, Texas, two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Though long celebrated within the Black community, Juneteenth was formally made a federal holiday on June 17th, 2021.

The L.A. County Juneteenth Celebrations are possible thanks to the generosity of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors – First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, Second District Supervisor and Board Chair Holly J. Mitchell, Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, and Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger – and many community-based organizations throughout L.A. County.

Juneteenth at Jackie Robinson is hosted in partnership with local community organizations. This year’s activities include musical performances, speaker’s series, wellness activities, resource fairs, artist experiences, hands-on children’s activities, video game trucks and so much more.

For more information on Juneteenth celebrations, contact Delmy Villegas-Delgado, Recreation Manager at (626) 369-5141 or at [email protected]

Juneteenth at Jackie Robison is a FREE events with no registration required. Food available onsite at cost by local businesses and vendors.

Please join us at the following parks and celebrate Juneteenth with us this Saturday:

Jackie Robinson Park – 8773 E Avenue R Sun Village from 10 am to 10 pm

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Community Services - PSA

Los Angeles County Parks & Recreation launches summer aquatics

Summer aquatics registration opens up Saturday, June 18 and programs start Monday, June 20, 2022- visit parks.lacounty.gov/aquatics

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – It’s Park Time L.A.! Beat the heat, get fit or learn to swim at L.A. County seasonal and year-round pools. There’s something for everyone including lap swim, novice teams, aqua aerobics too! Free Every Body Swims and other summer aquatics programs run from June 20 to August 20.

Register at reservations.lacounty.gov starting June 18. 

L.A. County’s five year-round pools operate Monday through Saturday from 6 am to 7 pm. The County’s twenty-three seasonal pools operate on two rotating schedules from 11 am to 7 pm. Pools on schedule 1 operate Monday, Wednesday and Friday and pools on schedule 2 operate Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

For more information on swim programs, visit parks.lacounty.gov/aquatics.

L.A. County’s Summer Aquatics programs are possible thanks to the generous support of the L.A. County Board of Supervisor First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis for her support in funding programming at Belvedere Pool, as well as the American Red Cross and LA84 Foundation for supporting scholarships. Visit your local pool to learn about more information on scholarships. 

Looking for more places to cool off in the evening? Attend evening swim at one of our 18 Parks After Dark (PAD) locations from 6 to 7:30 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Find a PAD swim site by visiting parks.lacounty.gov/pad.   

L.A. County also has 18 splash pads to cool off in that operate from 10 am to 7 pm Monday through Sunday through September 30.

To find a splash pad near you, visit parks.lacounty.gov/aquatics

For more information on L.A. County’s aquatics programs, contact:

 [email protected]

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