ACLU Hails Supreme Court Rulings
Vegas Sun, June 26, 2003
Box 4275, Las Vegas, NV 89107
By Sandra Chereb, Associated Press
RENO, Nev.—Nevada civil
libertarians are hailing U.S. Supreme Court decisions on sodomy and
affirmative action as victories for personal freedoms. Some conservative
groups countered Thursday that the court’s rulings erode states’ rights
and condone preferential treatment for minorities.
“At one level, the national office called it a historic
term of the Supreme Court,” said Richard Siegel, president of the American
Civil Liberties Union in Nevada.
“In my view, we had several huge victories for our
side,” said Siegel, a political science professor at the University of
Siegel and ACLU General Counsel Allen Lichtenstein in Las
Vegas said the high court’s ruling that struck down a Texas law against gay
sex strengthens legal arguments for other personal liberties, including gay
marriage and abortion rights.
A Nevada law on sodomy as it pertains to consenting
adults in private was abolished 10 years ago.
Still, Siegel called the court’s ruling an “enormous
victory ... not only for the issue of sexual privacy, which the court was
dealing with specifically, but for equal protection.”
It also gives legal weight to the principle of personal
privacy, a key element to the court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision that
legalized abortion in 1973, he said.
Lichtenstein was cautious when weighing the sodomy
ruling’s implications for Nevada’s constitutional ban on gay marriages.
The ban won final voter approval in November when Question 2 was passed
The case didn’t specifically address gay marriage, he
“I don’t want to overstate it,” he said. “The
rationale with Question 2 had to do with how we needed to protect ourselves
from homosexuals, which is something today the court clearly rejected.”
Janine Hansen, president of the conservative Nevada Eagle
Forum in Reno, said the ruling diminishes the rights of states to govern
“It’s unfortunate that the state’s authority is
being abrogated by the Supreme Court,” she said. “States ought to be able
to make their own laws regarding that.”
Richard Ziser, chairman of the Coalition for the
Protection of Marriage that spearheaded the Question 2 campaign, could not be
reached for immediate comment. . . . [The rest is about other Court
[Home] [News] [Lawrence