Law; LGBTQ+; civil rights; antidiscrimination; state law; Bostock; Title VII; textualism; statutory interpretation


The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County expanded Title VII’s coverage of victims of sex discrimination in employment by interpreting the statute to also protect LGBTQ+ employees who were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Although Bostock only applies precedentially to Title VII, the long and interwoven history of state antidiscrimination statutes shows that the ruling may reach beyond federal law. This Note examines state court cases that have considered whether to apply Bostock’s reasoning to the interpretation of state antidiscrimination statutes. Furthermore, this Note argues in favor of a path forward in state courts for expanding LGBTQ+ legal protections. The textualist reasoning of Bostock’s opinion—whether perceived or actual—should be highly persuasive to state court jurists, especially those in conservative states, which are more likely to have textualist judges. Adopting Bostock at the state level has the potential to expand crucial legal rights and protections for millions of LGBTQ+ people.