ROMER v. EVANS

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
94-1039
Petitioner 
Romer
Respondent 
Evans
Advocates
(on behalf of the Petitioners)
(on behalf of the Respondents)
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Facts of the Case 

Colorado voters adopted Amendment 2 to their State Constitution precluding any judicial, legislative, or executive action designed to protect persons from discrimination based on their "homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships." Following a legal challenge by homosexual and other aggrieved parties, the state trial court entered a permanent injunction enjoining Amendment 2's enforcement. The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed on appeal.

Question 

Does Amendment 2 of Colorado's State Constitution, forbidding the extension of official protections to those who suffer discrimination due to their sexual orientation, violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for Evans, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

Yes. In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that Amendment 2 of the Colorado State Constitution violated the equal protection clause. Amendment 2 singled out homosexual and bisexual persons, imposing on them a broad disability by denying them the right to seek and receive specific legal protection from discrimination. In his opinion for the Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that oftentimes a law will be sustained under the equal protection clause, even if it seems to disadvantage a specific group, so long as it can be shown to "advance a legitimate government interest." Amendment 2, by depriving persons of equal protection under the law due to their sexual orientation failed to advance such a legitimate interest. Justice Kennedy concluded: "If the constitutional conception of 'equal protection of the laws' means anything, it must at the very least mean that a bare desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot constitute a legitimate governmental interest."

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ROMER v. EVANS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_94_1039>.
ROMER v. EVANS, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_94_1039 (last visited October 20, 2014).
"ROMER v. EVANS," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_94_1039.