By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A federal appeals court ruling may be the fuel needed to open the door for nationwide workplace protections for LGBT employees.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 8 to 3 this week that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBT employees from workplace discrimination. The decision comes just three weeks after an 11th circuit three judge panel ruled the opposite — and it could have a local impact.

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“It’s about time,” said attorney Mark Aronchick. “I hope that we see more and more courts around the country following the lead.”

Aronchick successfully argued in favor of same-sex marriage before the U.S. Supreme Court. He used the Civil Rights Act as a basis for his case and believes the new ruling could have impact in Pennsylvania, where there’s no law banning LGBT discrimination at work or in housing.

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“I predict there will be challenges to that type of activity in federal court,” he said.

Attorney Angela Giampolo believes the appeals court conflict could tee the issue up for the Supreme Court as more cases come to judgement.

“We have a split right at the outset which is really good,” Giampolo said.

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