Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

 
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The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

press releases

Press Release

NCLR Launches Campaign Calling on Top Companies Doing Business in Russia to Urge Repeal of Extreme Anti-LGBT Laws
09.05.13 (San Francisco, CA, September 5, 2013)—Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) announced the launch of a campaign—"Stop LGBT Hate in Russia"—calling on global companies doing business in Russia to demand the repeal of new laws that target and hurt lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and allies.

Press Release

Federal Appeals Court Allows Enforcement of California Law Prohibiting Dangerous Psychological Practices to Change Minors’ Sexual Orientation
08.29.13 (San Francisco, CA, August 29, 2013)—Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a 2012 California law prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender expression of a patient under 18 years old may be enforced by state licensing officials. The ruling states that the plaintiffs in two legal challenges to the law cannot succeed on their claim that the law infringes the free speech rights of therapists who wish to engage in these dangerous and long-discredited practices.

Press Release

New Mexico Judge Orders Bernalillo and Santa Fe County Clerks to Issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples
08.26.13 (Albuquerque, NM, August 26, 2013)—(Albuquerque, NM, August 26, 2013)—Today, Judge Alan Malott of the Second Judicial District Court of the State of New Mexico ordered the county clerks of Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Ruling in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and local attorneys on behalf of same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry in New Mexico, Judge Malott said that denying same-sex couples access to civil marriage violates the New Mexico Constitution. The court issued a judgment against the two county clerks and the State of New Mexico declaring that, to the extent New Mexico law prevents same-sex couples from marrying, “those prohibitions are unconstitutional and unenforceable.”

Press Release

New Mexico Woman Suffering from Life-Threatening Brain Cancer Asks Court to Let Her Marry Her Partner of 21 Years
08.21.13 (Santa Fe, NM, August 21, 2013)—Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico, the national ACLU, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) filed an emergency request with New Mexico’s Second Judicial District Court to allow a Pojoaque same-sex couple, Jen Roper and Angelique Neuman, to legally marry immediately because Jen suffers from a severe medical condition that may prove fatal in the near future. Jen suffers from a life-threatening form of brain cancer, and her health has deteriorated severely in the past few months. Today’s request seeks an emergency order from the court that would allow the couple to marry so that Angelique and their three children will be legally protected should Jen pass away.

Press Release

Federal Court Rules That Widow Is Entitled to Survivor Benefits From Deceased Wife’s Employer Plan
7.29.13 (Philadelphia, July 29, 2013)—Today, Judge C. Darnell Jones II of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ordered payment of death benefits to Jennifer Tobits, the widow of Sarah Ellyn Farley, under a profit-sharing plan administered by Farley’s employer, the law firm Cozen O’Conner P.C. The court held that because the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was recently struck down as unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court, federally-regulated retirement and benefit plans must recognize the legal marriages of same-sex couples for purposes of spousal benefits such as those due to Tobits.

Press Release

Federal Government Resolves Complaint Filed by CA Transgender Student
7.24.13 (San Francisco, CA, July 24, 2013)—Today, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division announced a resolution to a complaint filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) on behalf of a transgender student in California’s Arcadia Unified School District. The resolution requires the school district to treat the student as male in all respects and keep his transgender status private.

Press Release

Nation’s Leading LGBT Advocacy Organizations Reject Efforts by House GOP to Play Politics and Leave Millions of Immigrants Behind with KIDS Act
7.23.13 (San Francisco, CA, July 23, 2013)— This afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives will meet to discuss the so-called KIDS Act, a piece of craven political theater that threatens to tear apart immigrant families. Singling out some immigrant youth for a path to citizenship while subjecting their families to constant fear of deportation is as senseless as it is out of step with the American public. It’s time to stop playing politics with people’s lives.

Press Release

Agreement Reached in Lawsuit Against Indianapolis Public Schools For Failing to Protect Gay Student
7.10.13 (Indianapolis, IN, July 9, 2013)—Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and Waples & Hanger announced an agreement resolving a lawsuit against the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) filed by Dynasty Young, a former student who sued the district after officials failed to address relentless harassment he experienced at school because he is gay and does not conform to gender stereotypes.

Press Release

CA Senate Passes Bill Supporting Transgender Student Success
7.05.13 (Sacramento, CA, July 3, 2013)—Today, the California State Senate passed the School Success and Opportunity Act (Assembly Bill 1266), sending the bill that ensures transgender students have the opportunity to succeed in school to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature. Authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, the bill passed the Senate with a 21-9 vote (unofficial). The bill passed the California State Assembly last month with 46-25 vote.

Press Release

Same-Sex Couples Ask New Mexico Supreme Court to Protect Their Right to Marry
7.03.13 (Albuquerque, NM, July 3, 2013)—Late Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico, ACLU national, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Albuquerque law firm Sutin, Thayer & Brown PC, and Albuquerque attorneys Maureen Sanders, Kate Girard, and Lynn Perls filed a writ of mandamus with the New Mexico State Supreme Court seeking a ruling on the issue of whether same-sex couples can marry in the State of New Mexico. The writ also asks the court to clarify that New Mexico respects the marriages of same-sex New Mexico couples who married in another state, which is necessary to ensure that those couples qualify for all of the federal programs that are now available to married same-sex couples as a result of the United States Supreme Court decision last week invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Statement

New Guidance from HHS Protects LGBT Elders
7.01.13 (Washington, D.C., July 1, 2013)—The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has issued an official guidance making it clear that same-sex partners and others must be given equal visitation rights at long-term care facilities, regardless of their marital status. This new guidance applies to all long-term care facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding, including nursing homes and hospice facilities. The guidance states that all patients in these facilities must be given the right to receive visitors of their choosing, regardless of whether the patient and visitors have a legally recognized or biological relationship. The guidance explicitly states that discrimination against the same-sex spouse or partner seeking to visit a patient is prohibited.

Press Release

Nation’s Leading LGBT Advocacy Organizations Respond to Senate Bill, See Opportunities for Immigrants and Demand No More Punitive Measures
6.27.13 Today, the Senate passed a bill with the potential to transform the lives of 11 million immigrants, including 267,000 LGBT immigrants.

We are one step closer to reforming our immigration policies and keeping more families together. The Senate’s action follows on the heels of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, which provides an estimated 28,500 same-sex, binational couples with an easier road to citizenship.

Press Release

NCLR Hails Historic Supreme Court Decisions Striking Down Federal Defense of Marriage Act and Restoring the Freedom to Marry in California
6.26.13 (San Francisco, CA, June 26, 2013)—Today, the United States Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law that prohibited the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples for purposes of federal programs and benefits such as Social Security and immigration. In a separate decision today, the Court also ruled that the supporters of Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that stripped same-sex couples of the freedom to marry in California, did not have the legal right to appeal a 2010 decision by federal District Judge Vaughn Walker striking down that proposition as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s decision means that Judge Walker’s decision will be the final ruling in the case, clearing the way for same-sex couples to marry again in California in the near future.

Press Release

LGBT DREAMers Join President Obama to Celebrate Pride Month
6.12.13 (WASHINGTON, D.C., June 13, 2013)—Today, four LGBT DREAMers, who were recently granted work permits under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, traveled from across the country to attend a White House reception in honor of Pride month.

statements

Statement

NCLR Applauds John Trasviña, Outgoing Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the Department of Housing and Urban Development
Statement by NCLR Policy Director Maya Rupert, Esq.
5.21.13—(Washington D.C., May 21, 2013)—John Trasviña, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will be leaving HUD on May 21, 2013 to become Dean of the University of San Francisco School of Law. Assistant Secretary Trasviña has served in the Obama administration since 2009 when he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Under his leadership, FHEO has undertaken perhaps the most significant steps to ensure equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people across the country of any federal agency in history.

Statement

NCLR Applauds House and Senate Introduction of ENDA
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell
4.25.13—(San Francisco, CA, April 25, 2013)—Today, a bi-partisan group of Senators and House members introduced the fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit most employers across the country from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers. In the Senate, the bill was introduced by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mark Kirk (R-Ill), and Susan Collins (R-ME). In the House of Representatives, the bill was introduced by Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and joined by more than 100 co-sponsors.

Statement

NCLR Responds to U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument in Defense of Marriage Act Case
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.
3.27.13—Today, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in a constitutional challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Supreme Court heard 50 minutes of argument concerning the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the case and one hour of argument concerning the constitutionality of DOMA.

Statement

NCLR Responds to U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument in Proposition 8 Case
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.
3.26.13—Today, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in the constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. The Court heard one hour of arguments from attorneys supporting and opposing the constitutionality of Prop 8.

Statement

President Obama Unveils Inclusive Immigration Plan
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell
1.29.13—Today, President Obama laid out a broad proposal for legislation that will overhaul U.S. immigration policy and replace it with a humane and workable system. In a much-anticipated address in Las Vegas, President Obama announced general principles he would like to see included in forthcoming legislation. The White House subsequently released a factsheet containing additional information and more detailed proposals, including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and the substance of two pieces of legislation that have been particularly important for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) immigrants.

Statement

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Groups Release Joint Statement on Immigration Reform as U.S. Senators Release Set of Principles for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
1.28.13—National lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights organizations, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, today released a joint statement reiterating the call for a comprehensive immigration policy that ensures fair and just treatment for all those currently impacted by our failed immigration policy. It comes as a bipartisan group of U.S. senators today released a set of principles for comprehensive immigration reform, and as President Obama prepares to announce his own immigration plans tomorrow.

Statement

HUD Enforces LGBT Equal Access Rule
Statement by NCLR Policy Director Maya Rupert, Esq.
1.2.13—Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a settlement agreement in a claim it brought against Bank of America for discriminating against a lesbian couple applying for a federally insured mortgage loan. This settlement marks HUD’s first enforcement action taken under its recently enacted LGBT Equal Access Rule.

Statement

NCLR Responds to U.S. Supreme Court Decision To Take Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act Cases
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell
12.7.12—Today, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will hear the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 and one challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Statement

NCLR Responds to Federal Court’s Decision on California Law Protecting LGBT Youth from Dangerous Practices by Therapists Who Claim to Change Sexual Orientation
Statement by NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter, Esq.
12.03.12—Today, Judge William B. Shubb of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued an order temporarily exempting three plaintiffs from the enforcement of a new law preventing licensed therapists from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender expression. The order applies only to the three plaintiffs and does not prevent the state from enforcing the law against other licensed mental health professionals. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2013.

Statement

NCLR Applauds Congresswoman Speier’s Resolution to Protect LGBT Youth from Harmful Attempts to Change their Identity
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.
11.28.12—Today, United States Congresswoman Jackie Speier introduced the landmark “Stop Harming Our Kids” resolution, which calls on states to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth from dangerous and discredited practices by mental health professionals who falsely claim to be able to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

opinion

Opinion

I Won’t Lie About My Marriage on My Taxes
Kate's Blog
4.18.11—My birthday is April 15. No one ever forgets my birthday, which is great of course, but it is also a sometimes bittersweet date since April 15 is always—until this year’s anomaly—tax day.

Opinion

The Kids May Be All Right. The Movie? Not So Much.
Kate's Blog
2.26.11—It started when we were at Sundance last year. Sandy and I heard the buzz about "The Kids Are All Right" and were happy to hear that the very talented Lisa Cholodenko had made a new film. It had all the makings of a mainstream hit, but then we heard a bit more of the premise, and our desire to actually see the film waned.

Opinion

Making a Federal Case Out Of It
Kate's Blog
1.31.11— Desiree "Dez" and Sarah are high school seniors at Champlin Park High School (CPHS), which is in Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District. They’re also a couple, and both are out at school as lesbians, which takes a lot of courage given the conservative climate in their school district.

Opinion

In Memoriam: Diane Alexis Whipple
Kate's Blog
1.26.11— Today marks the 10th anniversary of the horrific death of Diane Alexis Whipple. For those of you who may not know or remember what happened to Diane, it was an unimaginable nightmare.

Opinion

Making Meaning of Transgender Day of Remembrance
NCLR's Blog: Out for Justice
11.18.10— Countless transgender women and men are murdered each year simply because of who they are. The list of those killed-our friends, our family, our loved ones-is sadly long, and NCLR is committed to helping shape policies that protect transgender people from violence.

Opinion

Teaching Our Kids Not to Hate
Kate's Blog
10.13.10— The past few weeks have been shameful for those who abuse religion to justify their anti-gay bigotry, and devastating for our community and families that lost sons and daughters to suicide. We now face a moral challenge that we must meet.

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