Civil Rights Summit tackles modern-day issues, gay rights

AUSTIN (KXAN) — While the Civil Rights Summit focuses partially on the legacy of President Johnson’s landmark legislation 50 years ago, it will also shed light on modern-day civil rights movements.

Tuesday, crowds gathered to hear a panel on gay rights and equality.

Jan Sanders showed up early to The Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library on the University of Texas campus to get a good seat. Her husband was a part of the LBJ administration 50 years ago.

“I’m kind of reliving that experience,” Sanders said. “But I’m looking to the future and what’s going on now in our country.”

The gay rights movement of today was the topic that kicked of the 3-day event.

Ted Olson and David Boies led the panel discussion. The attorneys helped take down California’s gay marriage ban at the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

This is a critical component of any celebration of civil rights,” said Olson. “New York changed its laws, Maryland changed its laws, Minnesota changed its laws in the legislature.”

Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra Deleon were also in the crowd. The couple is on the front lines of the fight for gay marriage rights in Texas. On Feb. 26, they wont their case before a Federal District Court.

The presiding judge declared a same sex marriage ban is unconstitutional in Texas. Dimetman and Deleon are now waiting to bring their case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The more people know about us, the more they realize we’re not that different,” Deleon said. “There’s no need to have a different set of laws for us.”

Despite the ruling on gay marriage, advocates have to wait before any change. The ruling was immediately appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

DeLeon and Dimetman’s case will likely begin sometime this summer.

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