HRC Celebrates Anniversary of Lawrence v. Texas

June 26, 2014 by HRC staff

Post submitted by Bo Suh, HRC Digital Media Intern


One year ago, the United States Supreme Court issued historic rulings in U.S. v. Windsor, striking down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, returning marriage equality to California. Yet, it was the Court's ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, 11 years ago today, that laid the ground work for the tremendous progress we see today.  By legalizing private, consensual, adult sexual activity in all U.S. states and territories, the Supreme Court ended some of the worst persecution of LGBT people under the law and contributed to a changing narrative. No longer were same-sex couples criminals, but rather ordinary, loving couples deserving of full dignity.  

Earlier this week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld a federal court ruling that Utah's ban on marriage equality was unconstitutional. In addition, Indiana became the 15th state to see it's bans on same-sex marriage struck down by federal courts. Marriages in Indiana began immediately that day as LGBT groups and advocates celebrated nationwide. Soon, President Obama will issue an executive order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers. And we know much more is soon to come. 

This anniversary serves as a reminder of how much has been accomplished in the past decade. We have gone from 14 states that criminalized same-sex activity to 19 states with full marriage equality. In the scope of history, our progress has been breath taking, yet full equality can not come swiftly enough. 

Thanks to the hard work of supporters and advocates all over the nation, equality is within our grasp.