Kennedy Sees Issue as Equal Protection; Scalia, a `Culture War'

By The | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 21, 1996 | Go to article overview

Kennedy Sees Issue as Equal Protection; Scalia, a `Culture War'


The, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


HERE ARE excerpts from Monday's 6-3 Supreme Court ruling that states cannot ban laws that protect homosexuals from discrimination.

From Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's majority opinion:

The amendment withdraws from homosexuals, but no others, specific legal protections from the injuries caused by discrimination, and it forbids the reinstatement of these laws and policies. . . .

. . . Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint. They can obtain specific protection against discrimination only by enlisting the citizenry of Colorado to amend the state constitution. . . .

. . . We find nothing special in the protections Amendment 2 withholds. These are protections taken for granted by most people either because they already have them or do not need them; these are protections against exclusion from an almost limitless number of transactions and endeavors that constitute ordinary civil life in a free society. . . .

. . . Its sheer breadth is so discontinuous with the reasons offered for it that the amendment seems inexplicable by anything but animus toward the class that it affects; it lacks a rational relationship to legitimate state interests. . . .

. . . The resulting disqualification of a class of persons from the right to seek specific protection from the law is unprecedented in our jurisprudence. . . .

. . . A law declaring that in general it shall be more difficult for one group of citizens than for all others to seek aid from the government is itself a denial of equal protection of the laws in the most literal sense. . . .

. . . We must conclude that Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else. This Colorado cannot do. A state cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws. …

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Kennedy Sees Issue as Equal Protection; Scalia, a `Culture War'
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