5 questions with Bill Prather
On Saturday, Lambda Legal celebrates the sixth anniversary of the Lawrence v. Texas decision that declared laws against private, consensual sexual acts unconstitutional. Bill Prather co-chairs the event at Eddie Deen’s Ranch with Eric Johnson. For more info, call 214-219-8585.
What’s your involvement with Lambda Legal?
I’ve been a financial supporter of Lambda Legal for a number of years. In 2007, I was asked to chair the fifth anniversary celebration of Lawrence v. Texas. Paul Smith, the attorney who argued the case before the Supreme Court, was the keynote speaker. This year I’m co-chairing the event with Eric Johnson. We’re both members of the local leadership council.
Why has Lawrence v. Texas been so important?
That decision was one of the most monumental court decisions the LGBT community has ever had. It did away with the sodomy laws in 13 states. It gave us the right to privacy in our own homes. It’s been the foundation for many other court decisions.
Is there an upcoming case that you think will make a difference in our lives?
There’s a case of two women who were boarding a ship for a cruise. One had a massive aneurism. The hospital in Miami wouldn’t recognize the paperwork her partner had with her and wouldn’t allow the partner or their adopted children to see her. They were not with her when she died. I heard the partner speak and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Since Stonewall, the LGBT rights movement has made tremendous strides. Where do you see the movement going?
We’ve made a lot of progress in the 15 or so years since I’ve been active. We’re making great strides in the marriage issue, which is wonderful. Until we have that equality, there’s tremendous discrimination in areas like tax laws. I think we’ll see faster progress in the future. This is where Lambda Legal plays a big part. The marriage victory in Iowa was a Lambda case that will make other states say, "Hey, we may be in the same boat."
What’s happening for the sixth anniversary celebration?
The party takes place at Eddie Deen’s Ranch from 7:30 to 11 on Saturday night. It’s $50 in advance and $60 at the door. There’s a barbecue buffet, two drinks included, free parking, DJ, music, Juanita from the Round-Up will be leading line dancing and the Dallas Tap Dazzlers will entertain. You have to be at least 45 to join and the oldest member is in her 80s.
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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 19, 2009.