FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | May 7, 2003
Statement from Kate Kendell, Esq., Executive Director
(San Francisco, CA, May 7, 2003) &mdash. "Today the U.S. Supreme Court made clear that educational institutions have a compelling interest in maintaining a diverse student body. The Court noted that there are myriad educational benefits that flow to all students from a student body that reflects racial and ethnic differences.
"We are grateful that a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the importance of measures to ameliorate institutionalized racism. Certainly a cherished educational value has been preserved and the Court made clear that affirmative action plans which give some weight to achieving a racially diverse student population are constitutionally permissible. We remain concerned that the Court's failure to aggressively and vigorously defend the University of Michigan's undergraduate affirmative action plan may permit a further erosion of programs aimed at combating racism and poverty. Future policy and advocacy efforts should assure that such erosion does not occur. We are mindful that despite great forward progress, deep-seated racism and a general lack of real opportunity remain the norm for many women and men of color in this country, among them many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered women and men.
"The day where the past effects of state-sanctioned racial discrimination and eroded opportunities for lesbians of color and all those marginalized at the intersection of race, sexual orientation and gender nonconformity is still a long way off. Any further effort to undermine programs designed to redress past and current discrimination must be defended."
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.