Kennedy's retirement could hurt LGBT rights, prof's article says

U.S. Supreme Court chambers

The rights of LGBTQ individuals could be on shaky ground with the retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, UO political science professor Allison Gash writes.

Kennedy provided key swing votes on most of the foundational decisions expanding the legal rights of LGBTQ citizens. But Gash said those decisions, most written by Kennedy, avoided casting that community as “historically excluded,” a status that would make it more difficult for the decisions to be overturned by a future court.

“While Kennedy’s rulings have struck down important limitations on lesbian and gay rights, he has resisted treating the LGBTQ community as historically excluded — leaving them with a far less certain set of legal protections,” she wrote.

Challenges to laws protecting equality continue to appear in state and federal courts, including a recent ruling allowing a Colorado bakery to refuse to make a cake for a gay couple. Gash says such cases could find favor with a post-Kennedy court.

“There is no doubt that Justice Kennedy’s legacy has brought about an era of unprecedented — even unimagined — rights for gays and lesbians,” she wrote. “The question is will his legacy persist and grow without him on the bench?”

For the full article, see “Justice Kennedy’s LGBTQ legacy may be short-lived” in The Conversation. The story also was printed in the International Business Times.