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CNY's Older LGBT Community Welcomes Supreme Court Ruling on LGBT Job Protections

Monday’s US Supreme Court ruling protecting LGBT employees from discrimination based on sex is being felt here in Central New York…even if state and local laws are already in place.  Kim Dill is executive director of SAGE Upstate, serving the region’s older LGBT community, most of whom are retired.

"They sort of had a choice when they were working to have a career and security...or to come out.  Today, people don't have to make that choice."

Dill says someone called Tuesday morning who suddenly realized the significance of the ruling.

"She had a 30-plus year career as a teacher, but was closeted the entire time.  She said if I would have had it [job protection] back then, I wouldn't have had to hide.  It was really hitting her this decision was monumental, it had a big impact."

But Dill adds it goes beyond job security.

"The people in our community, most of them did experience some form of job discrimination...getting fired, not being promoted, not getting hired in the first place.  Being discriminated on the job will affect your insurance, your ability to earn more over time.  This leads to LGBT people that I serve being less financially secure."

Dill says the Supreme Court's decision expands the patchwork of state and local employee protections to a nationwide level.  It’s much like marriage equality, which was approved in New York before it became law nationwide. 

"For a long time, it was a different federal law than a state law.   When we paid taxes or did anything else, we either had to lie about being married or file as single.  All of this stuff happens at different times, and different jurisdictions are affected.  It gets really confusing." 

She says while the supreme court decision is progress and will make a difference, there is still plenty of opposition to LGBT equality from the Trump administration.  Just last week, the president removed non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people when it comes to health care and health insurance.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at