Retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy
Statement of Janson Wu, ED of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders

With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, we recognize a jurist who has been instrumental in advancing the rights of LGBTQ Americans. Kennedy’s rulings in Romer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas, Windsor v. U.S., and Obergefell v. Hodges have laid the foundation of our equal citizenship, by ensuring that LGBTQ people are seen in the eyes of the law as equals, not as criminals, and that we can marry the person we love. And his opinion in Bragdon v. Abbott ensured people living with HIV are protected from discrimination under federal law. 

While we have not agreed with every decision Justice Kennedy has authored or joined, we acknowledge him as a jurist who believes that our Constitution must be relevant to and interpreted for the world in which we live today.

Now is a moment to reflect on the words Justice Kennedy wrote in Lawrence v. Texas:

“[T]imes can blind us to certain truths, and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress.”

At this critical time in our nation, we do not have the luxury of being blind to the many and growing oppressions around us. In just the past week we have seen the Supreme Court fail to uphold precious constitutional principles that are vital to our democracy, by giving approval to President Trump’s shameful Muslim ban, by diminishing voting rights and labor rights, by allowing the restriction of access to accurate medical information regarding abortion.

Now is the time that we all must be active and vocal participants in our constitutional democracy. We urge every single person to contact your legislators, attend a rally, and speak out in every way you can to ensure that the next Justice appointed to our highest court will uphold our core values of liberty, equal dignity, and equal citizenship for all.