Plaintiffs in Historic Strauss v. Horton, Community Leaders, Activists Named Honorees at San Francisco Event as Legal Non-profit Marks 50th Anniversary
Lambda Legal is honoring the plaintiffs in the historic Strauss v. Horton lawsuit (which challenged California’s Proposition 8) at its San Francisco Soirée May 24 at The Pearl in San Francisco.
Prominent attorney and pro-bono counsel to Lambda Legal Ruth Borenstein and her spouse, longtime community leader Karen Strauss, were plaintiffs in the California Supreme Court case which protected the marriages of the 18,000 same-sex couples who married before Proposition 8’s passage in November 2008.
“The case established essential due process rights of all Californians, and it took great courage for these women and our other plaintiffs to participate in that high-profile case – to be public about how Prop 8 denied them and their loved ones happiness and legal security in the face of health threats and other vulnerabilities,” said Jennifer Pizer, Chief Legal Officer of Lambda Legal. “They offered their stories on behalf of a community targeted, demeaned, and denied basic rights. Their openness was key to the dramatic buyers’ remorse among Golden State voters that emerged after the initiative’s passage.”
In separate litigation, a federal court ruled in 2010 that Proposition 8 violated federal law, but it remained in effect until its defenders exhausted their appeals in 2013.
As a partner in the Morrison & Foerster law firm, Ruth dedicated thousands of pro bono hours to advancing the legal rights of LGBTQ+ people as co-counsel with Lambda Legal and other organizations. Karen was a top leader of the Lesbian Rights Project of Equal Rights Advocates and was instrumental in its growth and transition into the National Center for Lesbian Rights. She then served for many years as a top leader of San Francisco’s extraordinary public resource, the Main Library. Both have dedicated countless volunteer hours to SF-based organizations including Breast Cancer Action, Groundspark, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
“Karen and Ruth set a standard of civic leadership, generosity, and personal courage – standing up for our communities in contentious litigation, in their work lives, and as lifelong volunteers,” said Pizer. “We are honored to honor them at this year’s Spring Soirée.”
Lambda Legal’s San Francisco Soirée is an inspiring celebration hosted by Lambda Legal’s San Francisco Leadership Council. This year’s Soirée returns to The Pearl and will feature a cocktail reception, guest speakers, and an update on Lambda Legal’s litigation and public policy work. The Soirée has enabled Lambda Legal to remain the world’s largest and most successful impact litigation team focused on our mission to achieve equality for LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV.
This year Lambda Legal celebrates its 50th anniversary. For five decades, Lambda Legal has defended and advanced the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV.
For more information about Lambda Legal and the San Francisco Soiree, please visit their website here.