BY Neal Broverman
April 07 2010 5:30 AM ET
In her ruling, superior court judge Lisa Hart Cole acknowledged that Smye “does not have an adequate remedy for her discrimination claim in that Florida does not prohibit discrimination based upon her sexual orientation.” Since there’s a conflict between Florida and California law, though, Cole said the onus is on Smye to show California has a significant interest in applying its laws to someone who doesn’t live there. Cole didn’t believe a material interest was exposed.
The potential for this case to resonate nationally is huge, and Gorham and Smye know it. They acknowledged that they’re in discussions with national gay advocacy groups that could help in their appeal. They declined to say which groups they’re zeroing in on, but the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights is paying attention to the case.
“The Smye v. Korn/Ferry International case underscores the urgent need for consistent and uniform laws protecting LGBT people from employment discrimination,” NCLR senior staff attorney Amy Todd-Gher wrote in a statement to The Advocate. “While California has passed strong laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the laws of at least 29 other states permit an employer to fire an LGBT employee explicitly because of who they are. Until Congress passes an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, LGBT employees’ rights to be free from discrimination will continue to vary arbitrarily from state to state.”