Social and political change never happen overnight. For decades, the ACLU of Minnesota has challenged the status quo here, and we’ll keep working to ensure that all people in our state can live, love and care for each other.

1970 - Baker v. Nelson 

We litigated the first case in the country to argue that two men, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell, should have the right to marry. This was the first marriage equality case in the United States.

1972 - Baker v. Board of Law Examiners 

We successfully represented Jack Baker after the Board of Law Examiners refused to allow him to take the bar exam due to his sexual orientation.

1975 - Minnesota Human Rights Act 

We announced support for a proposed state law that would protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation. This law was ultimately passed in 1993, almost 20 years later.

1978 - Doe v. Alexander 

We filed a lawsuit after the U.S. Army Reserves refused to admit a transgender woman for service. Though unsuccessful, it was one of the first lawsuits in the country to deal with transgender rights in the military.

1980 - Gay Pride Committee v. City of Minneapolis 

We successfully challenged the City of Minneapolis for refusing to grant the Gay Pride Committee a permit to hold a block party on Hennepin Avenue. This would later grow into the Pride Festival we celebrate each year.

1985 - McClellan v. Humphrey 

We filed a challenge to the state sodomy law. The case was dismissed after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bowers v. Hardwick that there was no constitutional right to engage in “homosexual sodomy.”

1985 - Guardianship of Kowalski

We represented Sharon Kowalski after her father was granted full guardianship and the power to prevent her domestic partner from visiting her in the hospital. We fought for Sharon’s right to choose her own visitors. 

1988 - Gay-Straight Alliance Student Clubs  

We pressured the Orono School Board when it refused to grant official student group status to a high school Gay-Straight Alliance.  The board adopted a new policy ensuring that all student groups are treated equally.

2001 - Minnesota Sodomy Law Overturned

Minnesota District Judge Delila Pierce ruled in Doe v. Ventura, filed by the ACLU-MN, that laws prohibiting consensual anal and oral sex violated the Minnesota constitutional right to privacy. 

2013 - Marriage Equality

In 2012, ACLU-MN joined allies to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry. A year later, Minnesota enacted a law making marriage equality a reality.

2016 - OutFront v. Piper

Evan Thomas was denied coverage for transition-related surgery. The courts ruled that transgender people on Medical Assistance deserve access to medically necessary services related to gender transition.

2019 - J.H v. Anoka-Hennepin Schools  

ACLU-MN and Gender Justice sue a school district for discriminating against a transgender teen boy, singling him out and preventing him from getting an equal and adequate education.