Glenda Russell and Janis Bohan of OutSources talk with Jean Dubofsky, the lead attorney in the Supreme Court case against Colorado’s infamous Amendment 2, an amendment to the state constitution, passed by Colorado voters in 1992, whose aim was to eliminate all existing laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination, and to prohibit the enactment of any such protections in the future.
Over the course of 4 years, Jean Dubofsky led the case opposing Amendment 2, first in trial court, then in the Colorado Supreme Court, and finally before the US Supreme Court. In 1996, Amendment 2 was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Its defeat – and the language in which the decision was written – changed the course of the movement for equal rights for LGBTQ people. Jean is also a long-time ally to the LGBTQ community and advocate for the rights of all marginalized groups. She talks about experiences that prepared her to undertake this case, how the case itself proceeded, and the long-term implications of the final ruling.
Part 1: In this first segment, Jean talks about how she came to to take on this case, discussing elements of her personal history and professional experiences that prepared her to challenge Amendment 2 before the US Supreme Court.
Part 2: The second clip discusses the Amendment 2 case itself. Jean talks about the process leading up to the big day, some of what went on in the courtroom that day, and what followed as she and others waited for the decision.
Part 3: The final clip examines the lasting impact of the Amendment 2 case, Romer v Evans—its effects on subsequent court rulings and legislation related to LGBTQ rights, on legal and public discourse about LGBTQ people, and on the trajectory of the movement for LGBTQ equality.