2015 was a historic year in the fight for equality for LGBT people and those living with HIV, and Lambda Legal led the fight in courts and communities across the country. Here are some of the highlights of Lambda Legal’s work this year:
Victory! Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court
Our Ohio marriage case was one of the six that the U.S. Supreme Court consolidated into Obergefell v. Hodges. The Court’s historic decision secured the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples throughout the entire United States. We launched an FAQ and the Marriage Tracker, an online reporting tool for same-sex couples. We fought to implement the Court’s ruling in Georgia, Louisiana, North Dakota and Puerto Rico.
Victory! Five for five at the U.S. Supreme Court
In addition to the historic marriage equality victory, Lambda Legal wrote or joined friend-of-the-court briefs in four other Supreme Court victories: upholding the Affordable Care Act (King v. Burwell), upholding “disparate impact” rules that make it easier to prove housing discrimination (Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project), upholding sensible campaign regulations for judicial candidates (Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar), and preserving a key feature of the federal employment law (Title VII) protecting employees against discrimination (EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch).
Victory! Social Security Benefits for Same-Sex Couples
We worked with the Social Security Administration to ensure that it will apply the Obergefell decision retroactively to grant spousal benefits.
Fighting the Backlash: Religious Exemption Laws
Educating the Public: Know Your Rights
In Court: Rights for People Who Are Intersex
We sued the U.S. State Department on behalf of a Colorado intersex client, Dana Zzyym, who was denied a passport because they could not accurately choose either male or female on the application form.
In Court: Rights of Transgender People in Prison
We fought on behalf of our client Passion Star, a transgender woman who suffered rape and sexual abuse while in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. We petitioned Gov. Greg Abbott to implement the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act.
Victory! Tax Fairness for Same-Sex Couples
We won an important victory for Hal Birchfield, a gay Florida widower previously denied protections against certain tax increases for the home he had shared with his husband because Florida did not recognize his marriage at the time of his husband’s death.
In Court: Workplace Fairness for LGBT People
We represented Kimberly Hively, who worked for 14 years as an instructor at Chicago’s Ivy Tech Community College but was denied full-time employment and promotions, and eventually terminated, because she is a lesbian. We hailed a groundbreaking EEOC decision protecting lesbians and gay men from sex discrimination in employment.
In Court: Protecting Same-Sex Parents and Their Children
We sued in federal court to seek accurate birth certificates for the children of same-sex couples in Wisconsin.
In Court: HIV Rights
We filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Missouri client Clint Moore, who lost his position as a helicopter paramedic after he told management he had been diagnosed with HIV.
Victory! Immigrants’ Rights
We obtained asylum for a Mexican man living with HIV, on the grounds of the persecution he would experience in his country of origin, where he is likely to be perceived as gay.
In Court: Fairness in the Criminal Justice System
We joined a federal lawsuit against the City of New York and its Department of Corrections on behalf of Thomas Hamm after he was brutally attacked while visiting his partner at a men’s facility on Rikers Island.
Victory! LGBT Students’ Rights
We got a South Carolina high school to reverse its position on lesbian student Brianna Popour’s right to wear a T-shirt saying “Nobody Knows I’m a Lesbian.”
Earning the Support of Friends and Donors
Lambda Legal is so grateful that thousands of donors make financial contributions to support the work we do to secure equality and dignity for LGBT people and people living with HIV. Thank you.
Please join Lambda Legal today and help us continue the fight for equality in 2016! Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar by the $1.25 million matching challenge from the estate of John Barham and Dick Auer.