Matt Lesser

State Senator

Matt Lesser

Deputy Majority Leader

Your Independent Voice

June 15, 2020

Insurance Chairs, Reps. Currey and Allie-Brennan React to SCOTUS Ruling, Healthcare Rule

Insurance & Real Estate Committee chairs State Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) and Representative Sean Scanlon (D-Guilford) joined State Representative Jeff Currey (D-East Hartford) and Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan (D-Bethel) in applauding the Supreme Court’s decision today in Bostock v. Clayton County. In a landmark ruling, the Court ruled 6-3 that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act forbids discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, ensuring that LGBTQ+ American cannot be fired from their job because of their orientation or gender identity.

Connecticut has been the national leader on civil rights for the LGBTQ community, with legal protections for gays and lesbians dating back to 1991. In 2011, the legislature in a near party-line vote extended those protections to cover gender identity and expression, preventing legal discrimination against transgender people. Today’s ruling, which is limited to employment, ensures that federal law will provide similar protections for LGBTQ people across the country.

While today represents a victory in employment, other fights to protect the rights of LGBTQ persist. On Friday the US Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule that would permit discrimination against transgender people on the basis of their gender identity. The rule rolls back an Obama-era rule that would have prevented discrimination in health care against transgender Americans.

“Regardless of how hard the Administration tries to fight the LGBTQ+ community, our country is still moving in the right direction and Connecticut is here to stand on the right side of history. Since 2011 everyone in Connecticut – including those in the trans* community – has had the right to access the health care they need without worrying about discrimination,” Sen. Lesser said in a statement. “While today’s court ruling represents a leap forward for equality across our country in employment, we should expect further attacks from dinosaurs in the Administration until Congress sees fit to pass an Equality Act to enshrine full equality for LGBTQ+ across the land. When it comes to health care, the good news is everybody will be protected in our state, regardless of what this Administration does.”

That rule will impact transgender patient’s ability to fight against discrimination by doctors, medical facilities and health insurance providers. However, Connecticut stands to further protect and allow healthcare coverage for residents who identify as LGBT. The gender identity protection would remain in tact regardless of federal law.

“Today’s decision is a long overdue victory for equality but, tragically, discrimination is still possible for the LGTBQ+ community when it comes to health care as evidenced by the Trump administration’s announcement over the weekend that they are rolling back regulations guaranteeing equal access to care,” said Rep. Scanlon. “Regardless of what extreme policies come out of Washington, we will continue to stand up for equality here in Connecticut and fight to ensure that no resident of our state will ever be prevented from accessing their right to health care because on who they are and who they love.”

“The Trump administration’s decision last week to roll back yet another set of protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, this time affecting access to health care and health insurance, is reprehensible and is sure to have deleterious effects, especially during the ongoing public health crisis,” said Rep. Currey. “The rule highlights the essential role states have in preserving and expanding upon anti-discrimination protections in the workplace, healthcare and beyond. I’m proud my colleagues in the Connecticut General Assembly understand the importance of safeguarding these rights and have worked proactively to pass legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, especially when it comes to health care. Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision affirms that discrimination based on sex is intertwined with sexual orientation and gender identity, and will hopefully lead to additional federal protections for the LGBTQ+ community. The decision also reveals the Trump administration’s rule as nothing more than another attempt to bully LGBTQ+ individuals to the margins of society.”

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling affirming protections against workplace discrimination for members of the LGBTQ community is a major step forward and a significant victory, said Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan. “However, the fight continues. On Friday, the Trump Administration announced that it would allow and, essentially, support discrimination against the LGBTQ community in the provision of healthcare. I’m pleased that Connecticut has codified protection of the LGBTQ community in employment and healthcare, but this should serve as a reminder that we must remain diligent.”