|Will North Carolina's law force a repeat of 1996's Romer vs. Evans?|
Over the weekend, a lot of my friends and Facebook pals noted that the anti-gay law the NC legislature passed looked very familiar. And I think, to a point, they are right.
In 1992 via the same fear tactics that they exploited to pass state laws against marriage equality in the future (i.e. lgbts are boogeymen who want to corrupt society and recruit children) religious right groups convinced Colorado to pass a law similar to that in NC. At that time, it was an amendment to the state's constitution. Amendment 2 prevented any city, town, or county to pass any laws which would protect lgbts from discrimination. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court and in 1996, Amendment 2 was struck down by a vote of 6-3.
According to Lambda Legal:
In declaring Amendment 2 unconstitutional, the Court made clear that antigay sentiment does not justify governmental discrimination and shattered the “special rights” rhetoric of those who oppose equal treatment for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
. . . This landmark victory was the single most positive Supreme Court ruling in the history of the gay rights movement when it was decided. The Court’s ruling made clear that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals have the same right to seek government protection against discrimination in the United States as any other group of people. The decision also marked a new level of legal respect for LGBT people and rejected the notion that it is legitimate for the government to discriminate against gay people based on moral objections to homosexuality.
Here is something else interesting about the case - The opinion of the court striking down Amendment 2 was written by Justice Kennedy while the dissent was written by . .. the now late Justice Scalia.
So how does North Carolina's HB2 differ from Colorado's Amendment 2 or does it even differ at all? That's for law experts to say and I personally have never studied law. Any legal experts reading this blog is welcomed to weigh in.
This is not to say that we should take for granted the possibility that NC's law will be struck down. Nothing is for sure ever in this world. The lgbt community should keep up the fight against NC's awful anti-gay law. It just worth noting that we've had this particular fight before. And it's also worth noting the sad obsession some folks have with depriving lgbts our equality in that they dig a rotten, unsuccessful idea from the past and go with it without even considering that folks would call them out on it.