Romer v. Evans

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.
Status: Closed
Landmark Case, Victory
U.S. Supreme Court
Issues: Anti-LGBT Rulings, Laws and Amendments

Landmark case that struck down a Colorado voter initiative that would have stripped lesbians and gay men of civil rights protection.

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Amendment 2 was a statewide antigay initiative prohibiting all branches of state government in Colorado from passing legislation or adopting policies prohibiting discrimination against lesbians, gay men or bisexuals based on their sexual orientation. The measure was passed in 1992 by 53 percent of Colorado’s voters. Working with the ACLU and the Colorado Legal Initiatives Project, Lambda Legal won preliminary court rulings that kept the measure from taking effect until this lawsuit was resolved. The case went before the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down Amendment 2 in a landmark 6–3 ruling. In declaring Amendment 2 unconstitutional, the Court made clear that antigay sentiment does not justify governmental discrimination and shattered the “special rights” rhetoric of those who oppose equal treatment for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.


Antigay forces in the early 1990s mounted voter initiatives at local and state levels to block and repeal the passage of laws and policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. This case put an end to those efforts and led the way for numerous additional states and local governments to ban such discrimination by statute, ordinance, directive or policy.

Lambda Legal's Impact

This landmark victory was the single most positive Supreme Court ruling in the history of the gay rights movement when it was decided. The Court’s ruling made clear that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals have the same right to seek government protection against discrimination in the United States as any other group of people. The decision also marked a new level of legal respect for LGBT people and rejected the notion that it is legitimate for the government to discriminate against gay people based on moral objections to homosexuality.