Justice for All: Eight years after the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws, lawyer Paul Smith looks to the future of LGBT equality

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Date:

07/07/2011

"On March 26, 2003, Paul Smith argued to the United States Supreme Court that the justices should declare sodomy laws unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution—despite the court's opinion of less than 20 years earlier to the contrary.

"He—and the team he was helping at Lambda Legal—succeeded, and the court agreed on June 26, 2003, with Justice Anthony Kennedy famously writing of '[p]ersons in a homosexual relationship' that '[t]he State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.'

"Eight years later, with other prominent lawyers like Ted Olson and David Boies leading the challenge to California's Proposition 8 – and with the first same-sex marriage victory fading into history—it's easy to lose track of the changes that have happened since Smith and his firm, Jenner & Block, agreed to help Lambda Legal on the Lawrence v. Texas case.

"'Paul never says that this was a big, brave thing to do or anything like that,' says Kevin Cathcart, the current executive director of Lambda Legal, 'but I do think there's a difference. First of all, there was a difference between 2002 and today, and secondly, I think there's a difference between going to your firm and saying, "Let's fight sodomy laws" versus "Let's fight for marriage rights."'"

Read more in Metro Weekly.