Law Professor Suzanne Goldberg Weighs in on Historic Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

July 08, 2015

Columbia Law School Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg has more reason than most to be thrilled with the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide. As a lawyer for nearly a decade with Lambda Legal, the country’s oldest and largest legal organization working for civil rights of LGBTQ individuals, she has been a force in the fight for marriage equality. Goldberg served as co-counsel on two landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases: Romer v. Evans, which invalidated a Colorado constitutional amendment that blocked LGBT individuals from receiving anti-discrimination protection, and Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down that state’s anti-sodomy law.

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Lawrence v. Texas was litigated all the way up to the Supreme Court, which in 2003 invalidated the state’s sodomy laws in a 6-3 ruling written by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. It was the first in a series of court challenges that culminated in Friday’s historic decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, written once again by Kennedy.

Goldberg, now executive vice president of University Life and a law professor who runs the Law School's Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic, says “by striking down state laws that shut same-sex couples out of marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court has put an end to a long and painful chapter in our country’s history and, at the same time, created an opening for a new wave of civil rights, safety, and justice advocacy.“