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La Crosse’s LGBTQ community sees work ahead, after favorable Supreme Court decision on workplace discrimination



FILE - In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, a man walks a dog as Paul Cassidy, right, a Key West Public Works foreman, uses a propane torch to embed thermoplastic strips representing a rainbow flag into asphalt Monday, June 15, 2020, in Key West, Fla. The rainbow flag is a recognized symbol of LGBTQ unity. (Rob O'Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP)

While the black community fights one side of discrimination, the LGBTQ community fights another.

Will Van Roosenbeek, a board member of The Center: 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection in La Crosse, was happy to see a US Supreme Court decision protect the LGBTQ from workplace discrimination.

But, Van Roosenbeek added Tuesday on La Crosse Talk PM (5:25 into podcast), it’s kind of a weird place and time to be fighting that fight — or it should be.

“In today’s world that is unthinkable, that we would have to explain that we should not be discriminating against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” Van Roosenbeek said.

Friday, the Trump administration rolled back Obama-era provisions to the Affordable Care Act that protected trans people from health care services discrimination.

It seemed a peculiar time for such a decision, Van Roosenbeek thought.

“(They) did this during Pride month — June in Pride month for LGBTQ folks. Also, that day was the fourth anniversary of the Pulse shooting,” Van Roosenbeek said, of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.

“And, of course,” Van Roosenbeek continued, “this happens at a time when we are in a pandemic, and people are already struggling to get access to health care.”

Monday’s Supreme Court ruling could eventually change that but it will still have to be fought.

And Monday’s ruling is but just a first step in a bigger fight. Ending discrimination in the workplace is great, but that’s just one area.

“The next thing that we really need to work towards is to fight for those rights, in regards to public accommodation,” Van Roosenbeek said. “And that’s the Equality Act, that’s out there, and people are trying to get passed. I think this ruling can be helpful for that, as well.”

Simply put, the Equality Act would expand protections in multiple walks of life for the LGBTQ — from employment to housing to credit to education and on and on.

There were 287 original cosponsors to the act, which is the most congressional support that any piece of pro-LGBTQ legislation has received upon introduction. Among them, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-WI.

It passed in the House 236-173 in May of 2019, where it has since sat untouched in the Senate.

Democratic Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin’s 3rd District signed it. Republican Congressman Jim Hagedorn, of Minnesota’s 1st District, did not (see votes here).

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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