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'The right to say we’re actually protected' at work: What Supreme Court ruling means for LGBTQ employees

Stacy Bailey and Rev. Katie Hays have been been at the heart of the battle for equality for years. They talk about the ruling on this week's episode of Y'all-itics.
Credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File
FILE - In this June 26, 2015, file photo, a crowd celebrates outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the U.S.

In a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this week, the justices ruled 6 to 3 that employers cannot discriminate against LGBTQ employees because of sex. In this edition of “Y’all-itics,” the two Jasons sit down with two North Texans who’ve been at the heart of the battle for equality for years: 

  • Stacy Bailey, a Mansfield ISD teacher who was suspended after showing students a picture of her partner who later became her wife 
  • Katie Hays, the lead evangelist at Galileo Church in Fort Worth, home to a large LGBTQ community

To listen to the full episode, subscribe to Y'all-itics where you get your podcasts:

From initial reactions to what comes next, here are some excerpts of this week's conversation. 

On their first reaction to this ruling

Stacy Bailey, Mansfield ISD teacher: “So I went to be the bathroom and I just had this overwhelming feeling of, it was strange, it was like a relief feeling, but it was also this interesting feeling, like, if this happened only 3 years ago, maybe my entire trauma wouldn’t have happened and maybe I would still be in my elementary classroom.

“Once I stopped crying, I pulled my hair back and my wife, literally, had gotten off her call and we ran together. It was a very dramatic scene. We were jumping and crying, and it was really dramatic for us because we’ve honestly been fighting this exact battle since 2017, so it’s a very personal ruling for our house.”

RELATED: North Texas teacher who sued for sexual orientation discrimination praises Supreme Court ruling

Rev. Dr. Katie Hays, Galileo Church: “A few nights ago I remembered that it’s June and that we were expecting this decision in the month of June and I was kind of priming myself in prayer to be ready to console people that I care for around some bad news. That’s just a lack of faith on my part.”

On why Bailey continued working in Mansfield ISD after her suspension, investigation and lawsuit

Bailey: “I decided to stay in the same district who had done this to me because that district really is my family. I’ve been there, now, for 13 years. And I felt like I needed to see it through and to see this justice through and not just leave a district and go to a new one and leave this fight for someone else. I thought this was my fight to finish.”

On the fact that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act allowed for this ruling

Hays: “It’s on the back of those protests 60 years ago, now, that the LGBTQ community is finding some of those same rights. And so, what we’re going to do is we’re going to continue to work together in mutual partnership, I hope, for the furtherance of human rights for the entire human family.”

On “beginning again” after the ruling in the fight for equality

Hays: “I think what it says is that what we’ve been asking for all along is not that radical. This is not some crazy, extreme left propaganda that is meant to disrupt the system of families and society that our livelihood is built on. This is a reinforcement of that.

“What are these LGBTQ people asking for? They’re asking to have a job. They’re asking to earn a living. They’re asking to pay taxes. They’re asking to provide for their families. It’s really a lovely ethic.”

Bailey: “In an elementary setting, if I talk about my wife, people think I’m discussing sexual orientation. 

"But if I was to talk about my husband, I would be seen as talking about my family. So there’s a double standard that exists, especially in elementary education. So I really hope that principals, administrators, gay teacher, co-workers, I hope that everyone takes note on this.

“And that’s not to say harassment is going to stop for us. There still might be parents pushing back; there still might be co-workers who try to look at you weird or treat you differently. What’s going to be important is now we feel like we have the right to make the complaint to HR. We have the right to say we’re actually protected now in the workplace. Here’s what happened to me. Make a record of it.”

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