Happy Pride Month! Today, we’re bringing you a special installment of QueerSpace, our limited series featuring stories and people at the intersection of aviation, space, and LGBTQ+ history and culture. Seven years ago this month, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v Hodges that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry under the constitution. If you dig into an amicus brief for Obergefell, you’ll see mention of another case, Norton v Macy. This case set the first precedent ruling that the federal government can’t fire an employee for being gay. We talk a lot about pilots and astronauts who’ve made history, but today’s aerospace trailblazer was a humble NASA civil servant and petitioner named Clifford Norton.
In this episode of QueerSpace, attorney Paul Thompson, lawyer for the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC, and writer of that Obergefell amicus brief, walks us through Norton’s case and explains how its impacts are still seen in our legal system today.
QueerSpace is made possible by the generous support of Olay.