DALLAS - The U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling Monday that LGBTQ people cannot be fired on the basis of their sexual orientation.
The decision was based on the cases of two gay men and a transgender woman who sued after they lost their jobs. The Dallas partner of a New York sky diver continued to fight for his case after his death in an accident six years ago.
“This morning when we found out I had won, I had so many reactions, I was excited, I was happy," said William Moore. “A part of me was sad because Don did not get to be here for the ruling.”
Donald Zarda, a New York sky diving instructor, introduced his longtime partner, Moore, to sports.
“Don was full of energy, adrenaline junky, sky diver, rock climber, loved to be outdoors,” Moore said.
But in 2010, Zarda's career as a sky diving instructor ended abruptly because he was gay.
“He was taking a female passenger up for a tandem sky dive, strapped very tightly, close quarters. Her boyfriend was also going up for the sky dive. His birthday, he was strapped to another tandem instructor,” Moore said.
Before the jump, someone on the plane made a joke.
“Someone said, ‘Hey man,’ talking to the boyfriend, ‘What do you think about your girlfriend being strapped to that hot good looking guy over there?’ Don said to her, ‘Don't listen to them, I have a husband in Texas.’ That was it. Jump went well,” Moore said.
A week later, the boyfriend complained and Zarda was fired.
“Said he could not talk about his sexual orientation with passengers and clients. He said, ‘I don't understand, you talk about your wife and kids, why can't I say I have a husband in Texas?’” Moore said.
Now, with the Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling, Zarda's case and two others will expand federal protection against similar work place discrimination.
The court ruled on a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 known as Title VII. It bars discrimination because of sex, and now applies to biases against LGBTQ workers as well.
“Don always said to me he didn't think he had a purpose in this world, which was sad to hear him say that. He had such a big purpose he was never able to see,” Moore said.