In 1986’s Bowers v. Hardwick, the Supreme Court ruled that LGBT people did not have the same constitutional protections as heterosexuals.
Undaunted, growing numbers of people chose to fight openly for their rights. Seeking recognition and protection for their relationships—and dignity for themselves and their families—they continued to bring cases before the Supreme Court, often at great personal risk and financial expense. Public debate intensified. Some Americans feared gay rights would weaken legal protections for “traditional” families. The law, they said, should not be used to force social change.