“Remember the ladies,” stated Abigail Adams to her husband John in 1776 while he was helping to draft the Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately, throughout most of American history, the ladies were not remembered when it came to laws, as women were treated at best as second-class citizens and at worst as the virtual property of their husbands. U. S. law has witnessed a gender revolution, starting with the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963. In the process, areas of the law that had never existed before, such as sexual harassment litigation, were articulated and applied.
Six years after the Equal Pay Act was passed, riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City began the gay rights movement. Legally, homosexuals were barely recognized by the law except in anti-sodomy rules virtually every state possessed. Today, gay rights are at the cutting edge of sexual discrimination law, an area both unsettled and controversial. Sexual discrimination law advanced a long way in the latter half of the twentieth century. How much more it will advance remains an interesting question.