Many Americans might agree or go along with a law that says employers cannot fire an employee of an average business simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
That's basically what the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision last week, determining that a provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that outlaws workplace discrimination on the basis of sex also must include one's sexual determinations.
It's the extracurriculars likely to result from such a ruling that have many people worried.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, the President Trump-appointed conservative, wrote the opinion for the majority, employing what he said was a "textualist" argument in saying if "an employer violates Title VII [a part of the Civil Rights Act] when it intentionally fires an individual employee based in part on sex, it doesn't matter if other factors besides the plaintiff's sex [i.e., orientation or gender identity] contributed to the decision."
Two arguments quickly emerged from the decision, both based on justice dissents.
One, posited by Trump-appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh, said the job of specifying the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identify belonged to Congress, which wrote the act and never would have considered such issues at the time.
That explanation resonates, especially considering previous statements from Gorsuch and Kavanaugh that the court shouldn't write into law something that wasn't already there. In this instance — one of the combined cases was of a man living as a woman — it is deciding on someone's sex. Just as it did in Roe v. Wade in deciding who is a human. And just as it did in Obergefell v. Hodges in deciding what is a marriage.
Indeed, Gorsuch, in his book "A Republic, If You Can Keep It," said textualism "tasks judges with discerning (only) what an ordinary English speaker familiar with the law's usages would have understood the statutory text to mean at the time of its enactment."
In other words, he strayed far from his own words in writing his opinion.
The other argument against the ruling, suggested by dissents from Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, is that discrimination because of sex simply is different from discrimination by sexual orientation or gender identity.
It's from that argument where the Pandora's Box of future litigation may be opened.
Gorsuch even acknowledged such, saying employers who have religious objections to employing LGBTQ people might be able to raise those claims in a different case.
"But none of these other laws are before us," he wrote. "We have not had the benefit of adversarial testing about the meaning of their terms, and we do not prejudge any such question today."
For instance, in courts around the country are lawsuits involving sex-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms and the participation of transgender athletes in school sporting events.
But more general federal laws such as the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, the Equal Pay Act, the Fair Housing Act and Title IX (a part of the Education Amendments Act of 1972), in all of which discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited, are also likely to need interpretation.
And what of workplace conversations? Can holding conventional opinions about marriage and human biology now subject one to workplace harassment charges? Will religious schools of all faiths that teach traditional values now have to employ teachers whose beliefs are not those of the schools? Will faith-based adoption agencies be required to serve gay and transgender couples?
Despite Gorsuch's words that different cases involving religious objections might one day have their claims upheld, the high court rarely grants more religious liberty rather than less after making such weighty decisions.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote that the case is likely to have "seismic implications" for religious liberty, setting off years of lawsuits and court battles about the further meaning of someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.
"[The] ruling will have severe consequences for the privacy, safety, and equality of all Americans," said Ryan T. Anderson, senior research fellow for the Heritage Foundation who previously wrote on the court cases in the Harvard Journal of Law.
Had the law been updated to simply protect employment due to sexual orientation or gender identity — something Congress has never seen fit to do — many Americans could get behind it.
What is likely to happen now is another thing entirely. By reading sexual orientation and gender identity into "sex" in the Civil Rights Act, the court has opened itself — and the country — to years of legal misery.