Peter Montgomery

Peter Montgomery is a Washington, D.C., writer. He is a senior fellow at People For the American Way, where he contributes to PFAW's Right Wing Watch blog, and an associate editor at Religion Dispatches. Follow him on Twitter: @petemont

Recent Articles

High Court Hears Case Challenging Discriminatory Testimony

A case now being argued before the Supreme Court challenges the constitutionality of supposedly “expert” testimony claiming that race can determine a criminal’s danger to society.

(Photo: Flickr/Brittany Hogan)
(Photo: Flickr/Brittany Hogan) D uane Buck’s life was on the line in May 1997, when a Texas jury considering whether to sentence him to death on murder charges heard “expert” testimony that Buck was more likely to pose a continuing threat to society because he is black. Nearly 20 years later, Buck’s life is still on the line, as the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on Wednesday in a case challenging the constitutionality of such racial stereotyping. To the growing number of Americans protesting racial disparities in the criminal justice system, the fact that such a question could even come before the high court demonstrates an arguably stunning double standard. Buck’s murder conviction is not being contested—only the fairness of the sentencing trial that Texas law requires before the state can impose the death penalty. In the words of Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the case is about whether the state may take an...

One Year After Marriage Equality, Progress and Peril for LGBT Americans

The one-year anniversary of marriage equality in the U.S. comes at a watershed moment for LGBT organizers, who are launching new initiatives and forging fresh alliances amid a conservative backlash.

(Photo: AP/David Goldman)
(Photo: AP/David Goldman) People hold candles during a June 13 vigil in Orlando for those killed in mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub. J une was a momentous month for LGBT Americans, as the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic marriage equality ruling collided with a gun massacre at an Orlando gay nightclub, turning Pride celebrations into vigils for the 49 mostly Latino victims. We noted last year that the LGBT movement’s big push after marriage equality would be to win more legal protections against discrimination. Even before the Orlando shooting, this year had witnessed an energetic right-wing pushback against those efforts, as well as continued pockets of resistance to the marriage ruling itself. The post-marriage-equality backlash is the latest manifestation of a longer-term struggle that well predates the high court’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges ruling on June 26 of last year. For decades, social conservatives have resisted every step toward cultural...

It Didn't Start with Stonewall

A new history deepens our understanding of the origins of the gay rights movement and the transformation it has brought about.

AP Photo/John F. Urwiller
AP Images A demonstration in front of Philadelphia's Independence Hall in support of homosexual rights, July 4, 1967. This article appears in the Winter 2016 issue of The American Prospect magazine . Subscribe here . The Gay Revolution: The Story of a Struggle By Lillian Faderman Simon & Schuster L illian Faderman’s The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle begins with the late-1940s story of E.K. Johnston, a beloved professor at the University of Missouri who was considered a likely candidate to take over as college president. But everything changed when his name came up in the kind of police interrogation common in the day: one homosexual bullied into giving names, and those people intimidated into giving more names. On no other evidence, Johnston was arrested, smeared in the media, fired from the university, and threatened with jail. Hoping for mercy, he pleaded guilty, and received a fine and a sentence of four years’ probation. A condition of his probation: “cessation of...

The Fight for LGBT Equality is Not Over

Indiana's 'religious freedom' law is just one of dozens of state-level bills that could allow LGBT discrimination. 

(AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
(AP Photo/Doug McSchooler) Opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, march to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, April 4, 2015 to push for a state law that specifically bars discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. S ometimes you hate to be proven right. In an article in The American Prospect ’s recent winter issue, I wrote that while marriage equality enjoyed some significant victories in 2014, Republicans would likely use their electoral successes that November to push back hard. Under the guise of “religious liberty,” Republican lawmakers at the state level were poised to legalize and protect discrimination against LGBT people in countless ways. And how. Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) may have grabbed the most attention, but it’s just scratching the surface. Republican lawmakers had, as of April 6, introduced more than 100 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation in 29 states, according to Human Rights...

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