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Feminist News


October-11-95

Supreme Court Hears Gay Rights Case

The Supreme heard arguments yesterday in Romer vs. Evans, an appeal from the Colorado Supreme Court. That court ruled last year that a state, voter-approved constitutional amendment that banned laws which protected homosexuals against discrimin ation denied them equal protection. Both sides received help and tough questioning from the justices, with only Justice Thomas failing to enter the debate on Colorado's Amendment 2. Both Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice Scalia seemed to favor Colorad o Solicitor General Timothy M. Tymkovich's case.

However, Justices O'Connor and Kennedy, who now hold the swing votes in many of the crucial cases before the court, seemed troubled by the state's case. Kennedy asked the first question minutes into the hearing and effectively dismissed as irrelevent to the present case the precedent around which Tymkovich centered his case. O'Connor seemed especially troubled about the impact of the amendment and asked whether or not, for example, the ban would permit libraries to disallow homosexuals from checking out books. When the state replied that it would not cut off homosexuals from normal legal protections, O'Connor responded, "How do we know that?" Justice Ginsburg also asked whether or not a hospital allocating scarce resources could deny a kidney dial ysis machine to homosexuals. Because the amendment has not been authoritatively interpreted or put into practice, Tymocovich responded with, "We don't know."

Media Resources: The Nando Times - October 11, 1995