Dallas Man Heads to Supreme Court for Landmark LGBTQ Case - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas Man Heads to Supreme Court for Landmark LGBTQ Case

The landmark case will impact LGBTQ rights in the workplace

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Dallas Man Heads to Supreme Court for Landmark LGBTQ Case

    Is it legal to fire someone because they're gay? That is the question the U.S. Supreme Court will consider Tuesday, and a Dallas man will be at the center of the proceedings. (Published Monday, Oct. 7, 2019)

    Is it legal to fire someone because they're gay? 

    That is the question the U.S. Supreme Court will consider Tuesday. And a Dallas man will be at the center of the proceedings. 

    William Moore will be in court on behalf of his partner, Donald Zarda. 

    Zarda was fired from his job as a skydiving instructor in New York in 2010 after a straight couple complained that Zarda had mentioned his relationship with Moore. They also accused Zarda of touching the woman inappropriately. 

    "Don was humiliated that he had been accused of, first of all, inappropriately touching a passenger that was female, and also that he was being fired for being gay," Moore said.

    Donald Zarda, left, with William Moore, right.
    Photo credit: William Moore

    Zarda decided to sue, hoping only to recover lost wages. 

    Sadly, he never had his day in court. In 2014, Zarda died in a skydiving accident in the Swiss Alps. 

    However, Moore along with Zarda's sister, Melissa, decided to pursue the case. 

    After they lost initially, a federal appeals court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ Americans from discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity. That's the same law that protects workers from discrimination on the basis of sex. 

    "It means that you can be who you are at work," Moore said.

    The case is now before the Supreme Court, which will have the final say.

    The skydiving company and the U.S. Justice Department will argue that Title VII does not apply to LGBTQ workers. That would leave people in 29 states, including Texas, without the legal protection Moore seeks. 

    Moore said he was ready for his day before the highest court in the land. 

    "I'm going to be sitting there with a new suit on from Neiman Marcus," he said.

    Underneath, he'll wear the necklace that Zarda never took off. 

    "I do think he'll be with me. I do," Moore said.