I am from Oklahoma, and I lived there for 22 years… For every day that I lived in Oklahoma, same-sex relationships were a crime.
Thirteen years ago, on a cold March night, some law school friends and I huddled together for 12 hours to hear oral arguments in Lawrence v. Texas, the case challenging anti-sodomy laws. We knew that it was a seminal moment in LGBTQ equality. In June of that year, the highest court in America struck down all anti-sodomy laws targeting gay people. Five months later, Massachusetts recognized the marriages of same-sex couples.
Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in another case from the same state… United States v. Texas. In a few short months, the Justices will again decide a fundamental question of what it means to be American.
The Court’s decision could defer the deportation of as many as four million immigrants.
Of course, thousands of these individuals will be LGBTQ and HIV-positive. While the deferred action programs do not offer a pathway to citizenship, they would nevertheless authorize immigrants with strong ties to the U.S. to live and work here. But a challenge by 26 states falsely claiming that they will be harmed by the policy has put it on hold, forcing millions of immigrants to live in limbo.
This lawsuit is wrong and antithetical to what has always made our nation great. Diverse communities make America strong and dynamic. Immigrant cultures with novel ideas enrich and empower us. Let us never forget that this has been our legacy, and that it will be a necessary part of our successful future.
–Aaron C. Morris
Executive Director, Immigration Equality
P.S. You can make the difference in the lives of LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrants today by signing up to make a $5 monthly donation at imeq.org/donate.