CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — A local man who says he was fired from his job because he is gay will take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Gerald Bostock ran Clayton County’s Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, program for 10 years. But he said everything changed once he joined a gay recreational softball league.
“I’m proud of who I am. And I’m very proud of the man I’ve become. And I’m also proud of the hard work and success,” Bostock said.
He earned state and national awards for his work finding volunteers to advocate for child abuse and neglect victims coming through the juvenile court system.
“And one day, I decided to join a gay recreational softball league. And from that moment on, that’s when my life started to change,” said Bostock.
He said he started hearing negative comments at work about his sexual orientation.
“There were disparaging comments made about my participation with the gay softball league,” said Bostock.
Clayton County fired Bostock in 2013 after claiming an audit found he misspent money that is supposed to be used to recruit and train CASA volunteers.
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Chanel 2 Action News talked to Clayton County Juvenile Court Chief Judge Steve Teske about the accusation seven years ago.
"Meals, including alcohol and restaurants and bars in and around the Midtown Atlanta area," said Teske.
"I did nothing wrong," Bostock said of the audit.
He filed a lawsuit claiming the audit was a pretext and he was fired because he is gay.
Clayton County maintained the definition of sex in the civil rights statute did not cover sexual orientation.
A federal judge in Atlanta dismissed his suit, and he lost an appeal.
“A gay or lesbian man or woman can marry their partner on Sunday and then be fired for it on Monday. That makes no sense,” said Thomas Mew, one of Bostock’s attorneys.
“This is a simple case. The Civil Rights Act forbids from making decisions about an employee’s sex. And a person’s sexual orientation is defined by their sex,” said Bostock’s attorney, Brian Sutherland.
Mew and Sutherland’s oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled for Tuesday.
“Now, if we are successful at the Supreme Court, which we expect to and hope to be, we’ll get the chance to prove his case in court and show that the reason he was fired was because of homophobia,” said Sutherland.
Clayton County told Channel 2 Action News it doesn't comment on pending litigation.
Bostock’s case is one of three before the Supreme Court that will decide whether gay, lesbian and transgender workers are protected under federal anti-discrimination laws.
Bostock said this fight isn’t just for him, but the entire LGBTQ community.
“I’ll do it for you. Let me take that burden. I’m willing to do it because it’s too important to let just slip by,” said Bostock.
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