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Justice Kennedy's long road from Sacramento to landmark gay marriage case
Justice Kennedy's long road from Sacramento to landmark gay marriage case

Anthony M. Kennedy was a 44-year-old appeals court judge in Sacramento — a Republican appointee and happily-married Catholic — when he first confronted the question of whether the Constitution protected the rights of gays and lesbians. His answer in 1980 did not make him a gay rights hero. Kennedy upheld the Navy’s decision to discharge three service members for “homosexual acts.” But less noticed in that somewhat reluctant opinion — unusual for its time, just two weeks before Ronald Reagan was elected president — were the doubts Kennedy raised about the constitutionality of laws criminalizing gay sex. “To many persons, the regulations...

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