Sonia K. Katyal, “Civil Rights Must Be for All”

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Awesome feminist law prof Sonia Katyal recently wrote in the National Law Journal:

Ten years ago, I sat in a constitutional law class taught by Barack Obama at the University of Chicago Law School. My mother proudly recalls that I came back from class and predicted to her that Obama would someday be president. At the time, no one believed that such a thing was possible. But as history has shown us, we have come a long way in the past 10 years. We have watched Obama achieve what folks never imagined: A little-known local hero, armed with courage, audacity and a desire to bring people together, managed to unite the world’s most powerful country during one of the most painful economic periods of our history.

This makes it all the more confusing : and hurtful : that someone like Obama would select Rick Warren, a decisive player in the movement against gay civil rights, including gay marriage, to speak at his inauguration.

In recent years, another revolution has unfolded, something that all of us have borne witness, and something to which seemed equally improbable. Twelve years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Romer v. Evans, the first time the highest court in the land declared that a state could not ban the enactment of civil rights laws that protected gays and lesbians from discrimination. It was a stunning moment : many of us, including myself : never imagined that such a conservative court would recognize something that seemed patently obvious to the rest of us: that “equal protection of the laws” under the Constitution actually meant something, something real, something tangible, even when it applied to a group that many people seemed to readily overlook: gays and lesbians.

Read her entire essay here.

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