US faces off with itself in gay skydiver discrimination case

NEW YORK — Before he died in a wingsuit accident, Donald Zarda filed a lawsuit claiming he had been sacked from a skydiving instruction job for telling a client he was gay.

Now, a federal appeals court in New York is trying to decide whether U.S. anti-discrimination law protects employees from being fired over their sexual orientation.

One government agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, says yes. The Department of Justice says no.

The rare face-off between two executive branch entities played out Tuesday before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

For about two hours, the judges questioned lawyers about a law barring employment discrimination on the basis of "race, color, religion, sex or national origin."

A ruling is not expected for some time.

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