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Prominent attorney to give WVU gay-rights lecture

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A lawyer who has argued 14 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court will discuss the history of gay rights during a visit to the West Virginia University College of Law.

The public is invited to attend the Feb. 18 lecture by Paul M. Smith. The visit is sponsored by OUTlaw, the college's gay-straight student organization.

Smith will be introduced by attorney Stephen Skinner, an alumnus who became the first openly gay member of the West Virginia House of Delegates with his election last fall.

Skinner founded the civil rights group Fairness West Virginia.

In 2003, Smith argued the landmark Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas that effectively made same-sex sexual activity legal in every U.S. state and territory.

Until then, it had been illegal in 14 states.


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