In 1983, HLS student Evan Wolfson authored a prescient third year paper titled “Samesex Marriage and Morality: The Human Rights Vision of the Constitution.” Thirty years and countless examinations of the constitution later, two cases regarding gay marriage, Hollingsworth v. Perry (challenging California’s Proposition 8 ) and United States v. Windsor (challenging the Defense of Marriage Act) are being argued in front of the Supreme Court on March 26 and 27, 2013. Wolfson led a wave of Harvard Law School students and faculty members who fought for or participated in the discussion about gay marriage.
Today nine states have legalized same-sex marriage, with Massachusetts leading the way with the 2003 Goodridge decision, which led to much public and intra-Harvard thought and debate, memorialized in The Record and the Harvard Law School Bulletin. And the fight – with HLS involvement – continues. At the Supreme Court’s request, Professor Vicki Jackson submitted amicus briefs on the jurisdictional and standing issues in Windsor, while other Harvard Law School faculty and scholars have contributed to many of the briefs on the merits of both cases. While the Supreme Court deliberates, other members of the Harvard Law School community continue to theorize, advocate and shape the freedom to marry both here in the United States and overseas.
Come visit the Caspersen Room in the HLS Library to view “Long Road to Equality” – an exhibit documenting the involvement of HLS students, faculty and alumni in the long road to marriage equality. Curated by HLS Library staff members Mindy Kent and Margaret Peachy, the exhibit will be on view through July 2013. The Caspersen Room is open daily 9 to 5 (closed for special events).