02 July 2020 |

Victories to celebrate amidst turmoil

John Wilson
July 2, 2020

From KAC's monthly email update (subscribe here):

So much national news has happened over the last month that it can be difficult to keep track. We’ve seen widespread protests for racial justice. We’ve heard whistleblowers allege malfeasance at the highest levels of government. And we’ve followed along as a pandemic ebbed and surged.

But two decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court caught my eye, not because they were the biggest stories of the month, but because they showed how good things can happen in unexpected places during unlikely times.

On June 15, the high court decided the LGBTQ+ people were protected from employment discrimination. Only 21 states, not including Kansas, barred such discrimination. That means that, until this month, it was perfectly legal in much of our state to fire someone simply because they were gay. Families are made of all kinds of people, and this decision protects both parents and kids.

What also made the court’s decision notable was that it was written by conservative justice Neil Gorsuch. It underscores that worthwhile decisions aren’t – and shouldn’t be — about scoring ideological points.

Just a few days later, on the 18th, the Supreme Court declared that the White House had erred in its attempted to end DACA. That program allows Dreamers – undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children – to live and work in this country legally. Make no mistake: Dreamers are Americans. They pay taxes, raise families, and contribute mightily to our country. While this decision means they’re no longer at immediate risk of deportation, much remains to be done to reach a long-term solution for them and other New Americans.

Yes, the world can seem overwhelming. The problems can appear insurmountable. But these decisions, the result of tenacious work by talented advocates, show that progress is possible even in the most turbulent times.

Dreamers and LGBTQ+ folks across the country are better off now than they were a month ago. And that’s something for all of us to celebrate.

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