New York v. Uplinger: Gay Rights at the Supreme Court

In 1983, Buffalonian Bobby Uplinger and his lawyer, Bill Gardner, took Bobby’s case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Bobby had been arrested for making a sexual invitation to an undercover cop, and he and Bill were intent on showing that this case–and the many others like it around the U.S.–was a violation of a gay man’s constitutional rights. In this episode, Averill and Sarah introduce an oral history the History Buffs collected from Bill Gardner about this case. Tune in to learn how Bill and Bobby’s story turned out.


Show Notes & Further Reading

William Gardner, Oral History Interview. Conducted by Averill Earls and Elizabeth Garner Masarik on behalf of the Buffalo Oral History Project, 22 November 2015, in the home of William Gardner.

Kennedy, Elizabeth Lapovsky and Madeline D. Davis. Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community. New York: Routledge, 1993. 


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  • It was great hearing this. Out of the blue I thought about this case. I knew Bob Uplinger, before he took this case went to the Supreme Court and I know William Gardner from work he did for me after I graduated from college. It’s amazing I got him to help me when I look back at it. But thats how Bill was. Generous and helping those in need. He’s a good man. I didn’t really think about it til now. But Bob had a large hand in steering me in the right direction when I arrived as a freshmen from The Bronx in 1980. He was involved in the gay community, (I think with gay youth in crisis). He encouraged me to seek out the gay organization at the University at Buffalo. Where I became deeply involved with the group. Where I was an active member, it’s president and treasurer. And I made life long friends. The group became a vehicle to the career Im now in (artist/designer/illustrator). I have alot to thank Bob Uplinger for. I’m honored to know both men. Thank you for making me remember.

    • We were honored that Bill sat down with us. Such an amazing story. And so glad to see it resonating with members of our community! Thank you for listening!

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