A New York City federal appeals court ruled today that gay employees can sue their employers for discrimination under federal civil-rights law. This is a significant ruling on an issue that has split courts across the country and could be headed for the Supreme Court.

“Sexual orientation discrimination is a subset of sex discrimination because sexual orientation is defined by one’s sex in relation to the sex of those to whom one is attracted,” a 10-3 opinion issued by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals stated.

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Court: Civil Rights Law protects claims of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Rep

Appeals Court Backs Gay Employees’ Right to Sue: Ruling finds federal civil-rights law covers sexual orientation in an issue has split the nation’s circuits By Nicole Hong