William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice


This Article explores affirmative action treatment for self-identified LGBT individuals in college and university admissions. This Article seeks to explain that while granting affirmative action treatment to self-identified students in the admission process is constitutional, under the current affirmative action precedent, there is a lack of sufficient justification for such an expansion. This Article will also explore the advantages and disadvantages should colleges and universities choose to implement affirmative action programs for LGBT applicants.

Section I of this Article will begin by depicting the evolution of affirmative action programs since their inception in the early 1960s. This section will also include a discussion of relevant Supreme Court jurisprudence to date (including the Court’s recent rulings in Fisher v. University of Texas). Section II will discuss the varying views that support and oppose affirmative action programs and public opinion concerning affirmative action. Next, Section III will discuss LGBT civil rights and the strides that the LGBT community has made in seeking equality (including the Court’s recent decisions in U.S. v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry). Section IV will provide analysis depicting the parallels and pitfalls of arguments supporting and opposing affirmative action for LGBT individuals. This section will also include a discussion of the constitutionality of extending these programs to benefit self-identified LGBT students. This section will conclude with a discussion of possible pros and cons of extending affirmative action benefits to LGBT students.