What is Marriage Equality?

On June 26, 2015, in a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court of the United States held that the 14th Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize marriages lawfully performed in other jurisdictions. This means that marriage equality is now the law of the land in all 50 states. Prior to this historic day, 37 states plus the District of Columbia had legalized marriage for same-sex couples. This lesson provides an opportunity for students to explore marriage equality, gain background information about it, and reflect on their own thoughts and feelings about marriage equality.

What is a Hate Crime?

In this lesson, students learn the definition of “hate” and how to use alternate words, discover and understand how national laws are made and apply that understanding to the concept of government protection.

Critiquing Hate Crimes Legislation

In this lesson, students learn to access, study and compare primary-source documents, to research and organize information and to plan, organize and execute a live performance.

Activism and Legislation

In this lesson, students learn the provisions of the 14th and 15th amendments and the political forces supporting and opposing each. They will evaluate the agendas, strategies and effectiveness of Americans from underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities, in the quest for civil rights and equal opportunities and explore how laws uphold democratic ideals and how changes in laws accompany social change.

Winning the Right to Marry: Historic Parallels

In this lesson, students explore marriage bans for same-sex couples within the context of earlier prohibitions, and use these historical parallels to determine the fairness of those restrictions. Students listen to the story of an individual who was personally affected by marriage restrictions and fought to change the law in his state. They then analyze similarities and differences in cases that dealt with marriage restrictions and the road to victory.

When Did it Happen? An LGBT History Lesson

This activity is designed as a fun and interactive way to raise students’ awareness of LGBT people and the contributions they made in the history of the United States. Students will learn about key events in the LGBT civil rights movement. Students will have an opportunity to create signs regarding these events to spread awareness throughout the school.

Transgender Identity and Issues

Over the past several years, there has been a dramatic increase in the visibility of transgender people and the understanding of transgender issues. Polls show that most Americans believe they know what being transgender means and overwhelmingly feel that our laws should protect transgender people. At the same time, transgender and gender non-conforming people face injustice in every aspect of their lives: at home, in schools, in workplaces, in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms and in public places like grocery stores, restaurants and hotels. This lesson will provide an opportunity for high school students to learn more about transgender identity and issues, the barriers faced by people who identify as transgender or are gender non-conforming and how we can make our schools safe and welcoming for transgender and gender non-conforming students.

The Gay ’80s, ’90s and ’00s

In this lesson, students research and create a timeline that illustrates how attitudes toward gay and lesbian issues have changed over the last 30 years.

Brother Outsider

Bayard Rustin—a visionary yet largely unknown civil rights strategist, organizer and activist—is the subject of a compelling new documentary premiering on PBS on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 20). This guide is intended to introduce Rustin and encourage viewing and discussion of Brother Outsider, a 90-minute film produced and directed by filmmakers Nancy Kates and Bennett Singer.

Women’s Rights

How and why was the Declaration of Sentiments modeled after the Declaration of Independence?