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LGBTQ Rights Court Cases

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 1 year, 1 month ago

Topics on the Page


History of LGBT Rights Court Cases


  • Romer V. Evans (1996)


  • Lawrence and Garner v. Texas (2003)


Marriage Equality Cases



The Masterpiece Cakeshop Case



LGBT Servicemembers


  • Don't Ask/Don't Tell Policy




History of LGBTQ Rights in Courts


Landmark Cases from Lambda Legal


  • Includes state-by-state interactive to explore decisions related to employment and rights in the workplace; marriage and relationships; transgender rights; military service and more


Lesson Plans - Teaching and learning about gay rights

  • New York Times article discussing the introduction of gay rights into curriculums and useful lesson plans


Boston Globe video timeline of LGBT rights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA1jqFpMhyE


LGBT Rights Milestones Fast Facts (CNN) 

A Brief History of Gay Rights at the Supreme Court, FiveThirtyEight blog (June 26, 2015)

Noteworthy Court Cases that have Furthered Equal Rights for LGBTQ Americans, from Human Rights Campaign


Romer V. Evans (1996)


  • Court held, 6 to 3, that the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution prevents states from denying civil rights protections to sexual minorities, including lesbian, gay and bisexual people



external image Oblique_facade_1%2C_US_Supreme_Court.jpgLawrence and Garner v. Texas (2003) 


See also the book, Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas--How a Bedroom Arrest Decriminalized Gay Americans. Dale Carpenter, W. W. Norton, 2012.

Click here for more information on a right to privacy under the Constitution.



Marriage Equality Cases


The Marriage Equality Battle is Now History, NPR History Department (June 27, 2015) 


The Improbable Victory of Marriage Equality, Brennan Center for Justice 


For other cases, see The Gay Rights Controversy from the University of Missouri Kansas City. This site includes an updated map of states recognizing marriage for same-sex couples.





    • Hawaii’s high court issues first-of-a-kind ruling that a barrier to marriage is discrimination, launching the freedom to marry movement.



external image ss-kennedy-1024x576.jpg

Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health (2003.

  • Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage.




U.S. v Windsor (2013)
  • In a 5 to 4 decision, the Court held that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) deprived same-sex couples of their 5th Amendment rights for equal protection under federal law.




Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). The court held that the fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.


See also, Same-Sex Marriage, Around the World for countries that have legalized gay marriage (from NPR, June 27, 2013).


Same-Sex Marriage: Landmark Decisions and Precedents from The New York Times, June 26, 2015


Backlash Against Same-Sex Marriage Kim Davis, a Town Clerk in KY, refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples



The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), 1996


View resources on the Defense of Marriage Act at the Clinton Presidential Library




Marriage Equality:  Different Strategies for Attaining Equal Rights, Teaching Tolerance


First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage (Equality):  Welcoming Diverse Families in the Elementary Classroom, Social Studies and the Young Learner (2018)




Masterpiece Cakeshop Case


Does a business open to the public has a constitutional right to discriminate about what people or groups to serve?



external image gay-cake.jpg?fit=810%2C500Why You Shouldn't Freak Out about the Masterpiece Cakeshop Ruling

Drawing a Line in the Gay Wedding Cake CaseNew York Times (November 27, 2017)

  • Case involves a baker who refused to make a gay couple's wedding cake saying it violated his religious beliefs protected under the free speech clauses of the First Amendment 


Here is a link describing the case in which these two men were discriminated against based off of their sexual orientation, and became a landmark case for the LGBTQ community: http://www.adfmedia.org/news/prdetail/8700


Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civll Rights Commission

Colorado Court Rules Bakery Illegally Discriminated Against Gay Couple, ACLU Blog

John Oliver on LGBT Discrimination (2015)

LGBTQ Servicemembers


Executive Order 10450--Security requirements for Government employment


  • April 27, 1953 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order that bans homosexuals from working for the federal government, saying they are a security risk.




  • January 28, 1982 - "Homosexuality is incompatible with military service. The presence in the military environment of persons who engage In homosexual conduct or who, by their statements, demonstrate a propensity to engage in homosexual conduct, seriously impairs the accomplishment of the military mission. The presence of such members adversely affects the ability of the Military Services to maintain discipline, good order, and morale; to foster mutual trust and confidence among servicemembers, to ensure the integrity of the system of rank and command; to facilitate assignment and worldwide deployment of servicemembers who frequently must live and work under close conditions affording minimal privacy: to recruit and retain members of the Military Services; to maintain the public acceptability of military service; and to prevent breaches of security."

Don't Ask Don't Tell


  • July 19, 1993 - President Bill Clinton signs military policy prohibiting openly gay or lesbian Americas from serving in the military while prohibiting the discrimination/harassment of closeted gay or lesbian Americans servicemembers.




Trump Approves New Limits on Transgender Troops in the Military


  • March 23, 2018 - President Trump rescinds his previous policy to allow a new policy to take effect that will likely disqualify most transgender people from serving in the US military. The White House announces that the policy will say "transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."



    • Link here for an article about Donald Trump's position of LGBT Rights, specifically the transgender military ban.

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