On this date the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 6-3 that Colorado’s Amendment 2 was unconstitutional. In the case of “ROMER V. EVANS,” the court ruled that “Amendment 2,” that would have prevented any city, town or county in the state of Colorado from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of gays and Lesbians, was unconstitutional.
It was a significant step forward for Gay Rights. A few interesting points in the story: The legal case was named for Richard Evans, a Gay man who was challenging the law, and Roy Romer, who was governor of the state of Colorado at the time of its passage by statewide ballot initiative. By legal custom, the governor’s name is attached to a case like this. Which was ironic because Governor Romer had not only opposed passage of the anti-Gay initiative, he had publicly spoken out for Gay Rights and was one of the first governors in the country to address a state-wide Pride rally.
The passage of Amendment 2 caused a boycott of Colorado tourism and products by many Gay Rights groups. This was ironic as the very existence of the law was proof that many municipalities in Colorado had actually passed protections for Gay people. The most populous areas of Colorado (Denver, Boulder and Aspen) had passed protections. The boycott of the skiing industry had the effect of punishing the very cities that had protected Gays in housing, and employment.
An added irony was the boycott by Gay groups and newspapers in cities and regions of the country with far less *no* protections for Gay people (Dallas, Charlotte and Nashville for example). These communities located in much more Gay hostile areas of the country were boycotting municipalities that did actually have protections on the book.
Amendment 2 had been passed by the more rural and conservative parts of the state but the boycott had the effect of punishing the more liberal and Gay-affirming areas that had made Amendment 2 necessary (in the minds of anti-Gay activists). Given the complexity of the case, the entire process brought the effectiveness of boycotts under greater scrutiny in the Gay press. In any case there was much rejoicing of the Supreme Court’s decision. It would factor in heavily in the eventual overturning of Sodomy laws across the land in the Lawrence v. Texas case.