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Vox Sentences: Right to marry, right to work?

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The Supreme Court is likely to determine the future of LGBTQ rights with three new cases; bombings in Sri Lanka on churches and hotels kill about 300 people.


Supreme Court takes on major LGBTQ cases

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  • In October, the Supreme Court will take on three cases on gay and transgender discrimination that will likely determine the future of LGBTQ rights. [CNN / Ariane de Vogue]
  • In two cases — Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda and Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia — the plaintiffs claim they were fired for being gay, while another employee in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said she was fired because she came out as transgender. [The Washington Post / Robert Barnes]
  • Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, workplaces are not allowed to discriminate based on sex. Activists are trying to broaden the reach of the law by claiming it prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as well. [The Hill / Jacqueline Thomsen]
  • By precedent, most federal courts have excluded sexual orientation in Title VII, until recent rulings in both New York and Chicago that discriminating against gay men and lesbians was a form of sex discrimination. It is now up to the Supreme Court to define who is protected under the law. [NYT / Adam Liptak]
  • The current Supreme Court leans conservative, especially with the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was a strong ally on LGBTQ rights. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • President Donald Trump, who has strong support from evangelical Christians, has also argued that Title VII does not protect gay or transgender workers. This is in drastic contrast to Barack Obama’s administration, which supported classifying LGBT discrimination as sex discrimination. [AP]

Sri Lankans face a terrorist attack on churches and hotels

  • Bombings erupted on Easter Sunday targeting luxury hotels and churches in Sri Lanka. At least 290 people were killed and about 500 were injured. The attacks are believed to have been committed by the local Islamist group National Thowheeth Jama’ath, who previously defaced Buddhist statues. However, no one has come forward to claim responsibility. [CNN / Jenni Marsh and Julia Hollingsworth]
  • Three churches and at least three hotels located in the capitol city of Colombo were bombed at around 8:45 am on Easter Sunday. The bombings killed 36 foreigners, including three of the children of the richest man in Denmark, Anders Holch Povlsen, a fashion mogul behind companies like ASOS and Bestseller. Four Americans were reported dead; their identities have been kept private to respect families’ wishes. [CBS / AP]
  • Ten days before the bombings, officials were warned that National Thowheeth Jama’ath was planning attacks on churches. However, authorities did not act upon the warnings. [NYT]
  • The island nation of 22 million just off India’s southeastern tip has dealt with brutal fighting for decades, mainly due to a civil war that pitted the Sinhalese Buddhist government against militant fighters from the minority Tamil community who pioneered modern-day suicide attacks. [Vox / Alex Ward]
  • In order to halt any misinformation from spreading about the bombings, the Sri Lankan government temporarily cut off access to social media services including WhatsApp and Facebook. It also imposed a 12-hour curfew from sunrise to sunset for Monday. [Vox / Khushbu Shah, Sean Collins, and Alex Ward]
  • Eight bombs went off. Another explosive device was found in Colombo International Airport and was successfully defused. [RT]
  • Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena called for a state of emergency, which allows police and military to detain suspects without a court order. So far, 24 people suspected of involvement with the attacks have been apprehended. [France 24]

Miscellaneous

  • Erasing millions of people’s student loan debt is just the beginning of Elizabeth Warren’s new ambitious education policies. [NYT / Astead W. Herndon]
  • Ever wanted John Legend as your personal assistant? Google is rolling out a new (and a bit creepy) AI feature that imitates the voice of the singer. [Wired / Tom Simonite]
  • Parents and teachers want climate change to be taught in classrooms. What is stopping them? [NPR / Anya Kamenetz]
  • Samsung’s folding phone is the company’s latest ambitious project, but after some hiccups, it looks as though the company will be pushing back the product’s release date. [The Verge / Chris Welch]
  • The Jonas brothers will be back with an album on June 7 to fulfill all your middle-school fan desires. [Vulture / Milan Polk]

Verbatim

“A win in these cases would improve the lives of millions of LGBTQ people and their families as well as send a message about the inherent importance of all of us being able to go to work, to live our everyday lives free from discrimination, and ... to take care of ourselves and our loved ones.” [Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans, on the importance of the LGBTQ Supreme Court cases]


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