It was an extraordinary week last week at the Supreme Court. Most of the press has focused on the Michigan affirmative action cases, which were of course important, and rightly decided. But I continue to be struck by the profoundly important decision in the Lawrence case, which found it beyond the government’s power to regulate the private, consensual sexual behavior of adults.
There will be gaggles of law review articles written about this, and lots of speculation about the continued life of privacy jurisprudence. But I was struck by a more tangible reaction to the decision that says a great deal about how it feels to those it affects.
We’re living in the Castro in San Francisco while renovations on our house are completed. As anyone who has driven through this neighborhood knows, at Market and Castro there is a huge Gay Pride flag that flies every day of the year. Huge — maybe the largest flag I have ever seen.
I was out of town on the day of the decision. But I am told that the day after Lawrence was decided, the Gay Pride flag came down. An American flag was raised in its place.
It was an extraordinary moment that said more about the importance of this decision than any commentary ever could.