Cleveland State Law Review
petition clause, first amendment, gay rights, GLBT rights
In the battle for gay, lesbian, and bisexual rights, most of the fighting has centered on two sources of constitutional protection: substantive due process and equal protection. Unfortunately, courts have been reluctant to find in either of those constitutional guarantees a broad source of protection for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. The purpose of my remarks today is to suggest that the First Amendment—specifically, the Petition Clause of the First Amendment—provides an alternative basis for vindicating gay, lesbian, and bisexual rights in certain cases. At least in the context of voter initiatives that seek to abolish anti-discrimination protection for sexual orientation, the Petition Clause is a promising alternative to equal protection and substantive due process.
Kevin F. O'Neill, The First Amendment's Petition Clause as an Alternative Basis for Challenging Voter Initiatives That Burden the Enactment of Anti-Discrimination Protection for Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals, 48 Cleveland State Law Review 131 (2000)