November 3, 2015
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) joined Lambda Legal, National Women’s Law Center and other partners in filing an amicus brief yesterday in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief supports UT-Austin’s use of race as a factor in undergraduate admissions.
The brief argues that racial and ethnic disparities can be diminished when stereotypes are confronted by reality – the daily contacts and differing perspectives offered by students of varying backgrounds. The brief focuses on women and LGBT persons of color, asserting that the cause of eradicating discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity “is closely aligned with the interest in eliminating race discrimination” and that “successfully breaking down one form of discrimination tends to reduce others as well.”
“We are part of one justice movement, and we don’t accept inequalities deriving from race, gender, or sexual orientation as inevitable and unchangeable,” said Mary L. Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director for GLAD. “By coming out to our neighbors, co-workers, friends and families, LGBT people have experienced how powerfully our humanity can be understood by others when they are in daily contact with us. That is as true at work and in our neighborhoods as well as on college campuses.”
In the case, Abigail Fisher, a white student denied admission, is challenging the UT’s admissions policy, in which 10-20% of an incoming class is chosen through a complex formula of “holistic review” in which race may be considered as one of a number of factors. The case is being heard a second time before the Court after being remanded to a lower court in 2013.
Mayer Brown LLP is lead counsel on the brief, which can be read on GLAD’s website.