1996 May 20

Victory for Lesbian and Gay Rights in the Supreme Court: “Romer v. Evans”


Romer v. Evans, decided on this day, was an important victory for lesbian and gay rights. The voters of Colorado in 1992 amended the state Constitution to deny protected legal status for homosexuals and bisexuals. The amendment had the effect of nullifying existing laws and preventing future lesbian and gay rights ordinances at the city and county levels in the state. The Supreme Court declared the amendment unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, holding that it did meet the rational basis test. The decision allowed local Colorado governments to enact ordinances prohibiting discrimination against lesbians and gays.

The Court: “We must conclude that Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else. This Colorado cannot do. A State cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws. Amendment 2 violates the Equal Protection Clause, and the judgment of the Supreme Court of Colorado is affirmed.”

Learn more at Lambdalegal: http://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/romer-v-evans

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