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FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY: Lambda Legal's groundbreaking Lawrence v. Texas case

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Five years ago today, we made history ? and the world is literally a different place for LGBT people. Six justices said yes, the constitutional guarantee of liberty applies to all of us.

On June 26, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled all remaining state sodomy laws unconstitutional in Lambda Legal's groundbreaking Lawrence v. Texas case. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a ringing declaration of dignity and equality for gay and lesbian people: "The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime."

This year Lambda Legal is proud to premiere "Overruled!," a short documentary about Lawrence v. Texas and the monumental legal and cultural shift it inspired.


In the past five years the Lawrence case has worked its way into the fabric of our lives. It's been cited in hundreds of cases addressing employment discrimination, custody rights, relationship recognition, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and criminal law. It's given us a powerful tool to win LGBT equality.

As we celebrate the fifth anniversary today, we celebrate progress. We celebrate freedom and equality. We celebrate the forward march of history. But history is not over, and we are still fighting to make the impact of Lawrence come to life in our laws and in our lives. Thank you for being there with us.

All best,

Kevin Cathcart

Executive Director

Lambda Legal


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Around that same time, a Texas state supreme court ruling made Gay-Straight Alliances / Gay Student Associations legal clubs at schools in Texas. A young lady from my old school district sued for it and won. It has now been about three years since my high school alma mater formed its first GSA. The contrast between that and when I went there is big. I'm glad students there and at other Texas schools have it now.

I'm glad for the Lawrence v. Texas ruling. It is important in the lives of people, regardless of how they define their sexual orientation. Simply put, it makes it legal for two consenting adults to make love in their own home, regardless of their gender. That should have gone without saying, but it took a legal ruling to set things right.

I hope we'll see the day when same-sex partners have the same legal, medical/health-care, visitation, and insurance rights as opposite-sex married or common-law married couples.

I also hope we'll see same-sex partnerships and/or marriage made legal in my state. I don't really care what we call it, as long as it's legal for me to have a partner, if I should be lucky enough to find one (or him, me).

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