July 28, 1995
The Honorable William H. Rehnquist
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Washington, D.C. 20543
Re: Romer v. Evans, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 94-1039
We wish to thank the Court for agreeing to hear arguments concerning Colorado's anti-gay ballot initiative Amendment 2 in the case of Romer v. Evans. As an academic group concerned with issues of human sexuality, we are most concerned with this case and the larger issues of public policy that surround it.
This case addresses some of the most important threats against individual freedoms in our time. The Supreme Court has the opportunity to dramatically defend the cause of human equality within the United States, or to cast its vote in defense of state-supported bigotry.
It has been argued that gays -- and we use this term herein to include anyone whose sexuality involves others of their own gender -- are not an "independently identifiable group" and therefore are not subject to equal protection analysis; that only traditionally suspect classifications (e.g., race, creed, national origin) are so subject. However, gays are already "identified" as "traditionally suspect" in, for example, the military laws that regulate against them specifically. Gay people are regularly shamed, harassed, and even killed because, and only because, they are gay. Gays as a group are ridiculed and vilified by those who would use America's legal system to enforce the prejudices of their particular variations upon religion.
In scientific terms, there are still questions about what causes a given human being to be gay; for that matter, there are still questions about the processes by which one might develop as a heterosexual. What is well-known to serious science is that a person's sexual orientation is not an immoral stance taken to offend the religious right; it does not imply bad character, criminal tendencies, or danger to children.
It has been argued that the legal reasoning employed by the Colorado Supreme Court in overturning Amendment 2 is fundamentally flawed and is an incorrect equal protection analysis. This may be; we are not a society of legal scholars, and have no particular insight into such matters. However, such an argument does not excuse allowing Amendment 2 to take effect and deny gays access to the political process of their country. Furthermore, laws such as Amendment 2 ultimately deny those they discriminate against many other rights that should be enjoyed by the general citizenry, including the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Amendment 2 should be struck down for violating the fundamental rights of gay citizens.
Upholding Amendment 2 would, without doubt, unleash similar laws in every state. The religious right has been pursuing their agenda against gay people for years; it continues to do so even now, and will do so until our legal system conclusively demonstrates that such practices are not American, not in keeping with our traditions of equality and individual freedom.
We urge you to uphold the ban against Amendment 2, and to protect the rights to personal freedom and governmental access for all Americans.
Society for Human Sexuality
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