In what is considered one of the biggest victories for supporters of lesbian and gay rights, the Supreme Court Monday (5-20) struck down a Colorado constitutional amendment banning laws that protect gays and lesbians from discrimination. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court majority in the 6-3 decision, declaring that the 1992 measure would deny lesbians and gay men their constitutional rights. The court said the law unfairly singles out people for discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and that it would deny lesbians and gay men an equal voice in government.
Supporters of lesbian and gay rights lauded the decision. Beth Barrett of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said of the ruling, “It’s a victory not just for gays and lesbians but for all who believe in civil rights.” The amendment, which was adopted by referendum in 1992 and sought to outlaw legal protections for lesbians and gay men, was never enforced because of an immediate court challenge by lesbian and gay rights supporters as well as three cities that had already enacted ordinances protecting the rights of lesbians and gay men.