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One Colorado Celebrates 'Really Historic Day' & Supreme Court Ruling

DENVER (CBS4) - The LGBTQ community in Denver is celebrating after Monday's Supreme Court ruling that a landmark civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment.

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The court decided by a 6-3 vote Monday that a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that bars job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons, encompasses bias against gay and lesbian workers. The ruling also covers transgender people. The opinion was written by conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, the former Colorado judge who was picked by President Donald Trump to join the Supreme Court.

"Today was a really historic day," said Daniel Ramos, the Executive Director of One Colorado. "Before today, in 29 states, it was completely legal for an LGTBQ person to be fired from their job for being an LGTBQ person."

One Colorado is a nonprofit organization that works to advocate and advance equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Coloradans and their families. Ramos said Colorado state passed a similar law in 2008, but this marks a change across the nation, to make sure people cannot be fired because of their sexual orientation.

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"So whether you could put a picture of your partner on your desk, could essentially before today's decision, be a determining factor of whether someone could be fired from their job," Ramos explained.

One Colorado held a virtual rally Monday evening to celebrate the SCOTUS ruling. Bonnie Sarah Spencer was a speaker at that event. She's a priest at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Redeemer. But in 2004, she said she was discriminated against while working at another church.

"As I came out, a group of 12 of my colleagues were asking that I be removed from the church and removed from the priesthood," she explained. "Experiencing the threat of losing my job first hand and what that meant to me and my wife and my family, was terrifying. And it's not okay."

Spencer said she is now working to create positive, lasting change in our community.

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"I believe when he said God so loved the world, there were no exclusions," she told CBS4's Makenzie O'Keefe. "I'm grateful for today, and as a person of faith and as a citizen, I'm going to keep on working."

Both Spencer and Ramos share the same sentiment, that the ruling is a great step in the right direction but more needs to be done.

"We know there are still many other areas of public life where LGBTQ folks have to worry," Ramos said. "Like housing or other public accommodations, so the big push now, is to make sure we have federal comprehensive nondiscrimination protections through the Equality Act."

RELATED: Gov. Jared Polis, Other Colorado Leaders React To Supreme Court Ruling That LGBT People Are Protected From Job Discrimination


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