Engineer Inclusion

The Supreme Court’s Rulings on Affirmative Action and LGBTQIA+ Rights: A Step Back for Progress

The Supreme Court has made two recent rulings that have significantly impacted affirmative action and LGBTQIA+ rights. These rulings are a setback for progress and a reminder that fighting for equality is never easy.

recent supreme court rulings a step back from progress
The First Ruling: Affirmative Action in Higher Education (June 29, 2023)

The Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action is a setback for racial equality. Affirmative action is a policy and practice designed to increase workplace and educational opportunities for traditionally marginalized people. The June 29th ruling ends race-conscious admissions policies, in place since the early 1960s, at public and private universities, which reduced access inequities, and selection bias and ultimately increased campus diversity. Diversity benefits everyone. A lack of diversity in higher education yields reduced diversity in high-demand, high-wage jobs and can perpetuate systemic barriers and racial inequality, including wage gaps and increased poverty. The court made an exception for military academies, which means our nation is okay with preparing people of color for the “bunker but not the boardroom,” as Justice Katanji Brown Jackson said in her dissents. 

The Second Ruling: Discrimination Against LGBTQIA+ People (June 30, 2023)

The Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Lorie Smith is a setback for LGBTQIA+ rights. The ruling allows businesses to refuse service to LGBTQIA+ people based on religious beliefs, making it more difficult for LGBTQIA+ people to live their lives openly and without fear of discrimination. For example, a bakery could refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, a hotel could refuse to rent a room to a same-sex couple, or a restaurant could refuse to serve a same-sex couple. Discrimination devastates LGBTQIA+ people, making them feel unwelcome and unsafe in their communities.

What Can We Do?

We must continue to speak out against discrimination and demand that our elected officials protect everyone’s rights, not some people’s rights at the expense of another. We must not let the Supreme Court roll back our progress. There are several things you can do to stand for justice against these rulings and to support equality for all:

Together, we can make a difference.
We can create a more just and equitable society for all.

Post written by Elizabeth Johnson in collaboration with Meagan Pollock
Headshot of Dr. Meagan Pollock

Meagan Pollock, PhD

Dr. Meagan Pollock envisions a world where personal and social circumstances are not obstacles to achieving potential, and where kindness, inclusivity, and conservation prevail.

An international speaker, teacher, engineer, and equity leader, her mission is to provide services, tools, and resources that inspire awareness and initiate action.

As an engineer turned educator, Meagan Pollock is focused on engineering equity into education and the workforce.

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