Expanding LBGT Civil Liberties Into Next Century
It is without question that the turn of the century not only extended LGBT civil rights, but it also ended up being the decade where the most change would happen for gay rights.
The DOMA act gradually began to loosen up after 2000 when the Supreme Court concurred to strike down Colorado’s pursuit to unprotect LGBT people from sexual orientation discrimination. The justices conceded that all American homosexual, bisexual and transgender men and women are sheltered under the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.
This was the first time America’s highest court favorably addressed the issue of LGBT rights after ordering that sodomy laws were constitutional in 1986; a significant indicator that the law, which does hinge on society, was undoubtedly changing.
Public reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision was, initially, favorable. The Vermont Legislator was the first in the United States to successfully pass a law that established civil unions for same-sex couples.
LBGT couples in Vermont soon possessed the exact same liberties and benefits of marriage that heterosexual men and women did under state legislation. The Vermont Supreme Court sustained the statute immediately after, acknowledging that LGBT couples should be granted equal civil liberties as others in the state.
The judges are now on board!
The Supreme Court supercharged the LGBT civil rights movement once again, in 2003, when it announced that every single sodomy law in the United States was unconstitutional. The ruling made homosexual activity between consenting adults legal in every state by revoking all sodomy laws in Texas and in thirteen other states that continued to honor them.
Right away, after the Supreme Court’s verdict, conservative lawmakers voted in opposition to modify the Constitution for disallowing gay marriage. However, a federal government ban on same-sex marriage was encouraged by President George Bush, who soon set up a committee to explore amending the Constitution to reflect “opposite-sex-marriage-only.” in 2004.
“I do not support a constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage.”
–Corrine Brown, US Congresswoman.
After a couple of encouraging Supreme Court opinions and some unexpected assistance from a conservative Congress, it appeared that setting up equal rights for all LTBT folks was no longer a becoming a “non-issue” in America, but rather a “when-is-it-going-to-happen” issue.