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    This page contains Supreme Court rulings -- with summaries of the majority and minority conclusions.

96-ROMER on Oct 10, 1995

Decided May 20, 1996
Case Ruling: Romer v. Evans
An amendment to the Colorado state constitution that would have prevented taking any action to recognize gay and lesbian citizens as a protected class was passed by voters in a referendum. Romer v. Evans is a landmark Supreme Court case; the first dealing with gay rights since Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), when the Court had ruled that a law criminalizing homosexual sex was constitutional.

HELD: By Kennedy, joined by Stevens, O'Connor, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer

The court ruled 6-3 that Colorado's Amendment was unconstitutional. Rejecting the state's argument that the Amendment merely blocked gay people from receiving "special rights", Kennedy wrote, "To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint." Kennedy argued that protection offered by antidiscrimination laws was not a "special right" because they protected fundamental rights already enjoyed by all other citizens. Though antidiscrimination laws "enumerated" certain groups that they protected, this merely served to put others on notice.

DISSENT: By Scalia, joined by Rehnquist, Thomas

The dissent states that the Colorado amendment is "a modest attempt by seemingly tolerant Coloradans to preserve traditional sexual mores against the efforts of a politically powerful minority to revise those mores through use of the laws. That objective is unimpeachable under any constitutional doctrine." Scalia argued that the Amendment did not deny homosexuals access to the political process but merely made it more difficult to enact laws that they favored. Scalia concluded, "Today's opinion has no foundation in American constitutional law, and barely pretends to. [The Colorado amendment] does not even disfavor homosexuals in any substantive sense, but merely denies them preferential treatment."


    Participating counts on VoteMatch question 3. Question 3: Comfortable with same-sex marriage Scores: -2=Strongly oppose; -1=Oppose; 0=neutral; 1=Support; 2=Strongly support.
  • Topic: Civil Rights
  • Headline: State laws can protect gay rights (Score: 2)
  • Headline 2: State laws should not protect gay rights (Score: -1)

    Participating counts on AmericansElect question 7.
  • Headline: State laws can protect gay rights (Answer: B)
  • Headline 2: State laws should not protect gay rights (Answer: A)
  • AmericansElect Quiz Question 7 on Social Issues: When you think about the rights of same-sex couples, which of the following is closest to your personal opinion?
    • A: Same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry or form any kind of civil union
    • B: Same-sex couples should be allowed to form civil unions, but not to marry in the traditional sense
    • C: Same-sex couples should be allowed to marry legally, with all the same rights as traditional marriages
    • D: Unsure


  • Key for participation codes:
  • Sponsorships: p=sponsored; o=co-sponsored; s=signed
  • Memberships: c=chair; m=member; e=endorsed; f=profiled; s=scored
  • Resolutions: i=introduced; w=wrote; a=adopted
  • Cases: w=wrote; j=joined; d=dissented; c=concurred
  • Surveys: '+' supports; '-' opposes.



Democrats participating in 96-ROMER

Stephen Breyer j1US Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg j1US Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 



Republicans participating in 96-ROMER

Anthony Kennedy w1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
Sandra Day O`Connor j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2005) 
William Rehnquist j2dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (until 2005) 
Antonin Scalia w2dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
David Souter j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2009) 
John Paul Stevens j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2010) 
Clarence Thomas j2dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 



Independents participating in 96-ROMER



Total recorded by OnTheIssues:

Democrats: 2
Republicans: 7
Independents: 0


















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