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Highlighting the
Supreme Court's role in our life

Highlighting the
Supreme Court's role in our life


Mikhaela Reid, a New York City cartoonist and illustrator, readily admits that she is no legal scholar. So when the 26-year-old was commissioned by the national LGBT legal rights advocacy group Lambda Legal to create its new "Life Without Fair Courts" series of comics depicting what life would be like without such key court victories as Lawrence v. Texas, in which the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws, Reid had to bone up on reams of legal opinions and decisions before she could begin to draw. "Legalese is not the most exciting thing," she says. "It's like, What does this matter to me?"

That is the question Lambda Legal hopes to answer with its novel public-service campaign cartoon strip series, which features 10 comic strips corresponding to 10 precedent-setting court cases, from obviously LGBT-relevant ones such as Lawrence to those with more obscure but no less important connections as City of Ladue v. Gilleo, in which the high court ruled in 1994 that signs on private property are protected by the First Amendment. "We want to show what courts do when they do their jobs," says Hector Vargas, Lambda Legal's deputy director of education and public affairs. "It's difficult to imagine what this alternate reality would look like because the way life is, is so ingrained in our daily lives. These decisions are so basic to our understanding of equality, so ingrained in our daily lives, that it's difficult to imagine what the alternative is."

Reid, who is bisexual, knows that without the role of the court, she would not be allowed to marry her fiance, who is African-American, since interracial unions were illegal until the 1967 Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision. "These court cases are really vital to our daily lives," she says. "It's kind of crazy to imagine how we'd be living without them."

In addition to the comics campaign, which will run in The Advocate and, Lambda Legal has partnered with Prism Comics, an association for LGBT comic authors and fans, and The Advocate to hold a contest for cartoonists, both professional and amateur, to illustrate what fair courts mean to them. Submissions will be accepted through March 15, 2007, and the winning entry will be selected through online voting with the help of judges Mikhaela Reid, Joan Hilty, Phil Jimenez of DC Comics, and Advocate art director George Stoll. The winning entry will be published on For more information and to submit your work, visit or

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