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

Timeline of Victories

NCLR Timeline: A Glance at History

1977—Lesbian Rights Project founded (re-named National Center for Lesbian Rights in 1989)

1980—NCLR wins landmark victory in California for Denise Kreps, denied a job as County Sheriff because of her sexual orientation

1981—NCLR brings groundbreaking case on behalf of a woman discharged from the National Guard solely for being a lesbian

1985—NCLR represents two gay men in one of the first cases in the country to seek equal health benefits for same-sex partners

1986—NCLR represents Annie Affleck and Rebecca Smith as they become one of the first same-sex couples to jointly adopt in the U.S.

1987—NCLR wins one of the first second-parent adoption cases in the country and begins promoting second-parent adoption as a legal strategy for protecting same-sex parent families

1988—NCLR wins one of the nation’s first court custody battles for a parent with AIDS on behalf of Artie Wallace, a gay dad whose son was kidnapped by his ex-wife

1993—NCLR is the first national LGBT legal organization to launch a groundbreaking advocacy program on behalf of LGBT youth

1994—NCLR dramatically expands its advocacy on behalf of LGBT immigrants with the launch of its Immigration Project, becoming the first national LGBT legal organization to do so

1996—NCLR represents a lesbian mother in Florida in a precedent-setting case holding that courts must not base custody decisions on stereotypes about lesbian and gay parents

1999—NCLR is the first LGBT legal organization to launch a permanent Elder Law Project as the first wave of baby boomers become senior citizens

2000—In a powerful decision that adopts many of the arguments put forward by NCLR in an amicus brief, the Ninth Circuit awards asylum to a gay man from Mexico and holds that sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic

2001—NCLR becomes the first national LGBT legal organization to launch a Transgender Law Project

2001—NCLR is the first national LGBT organization to tackle the rampant homophobia and transphobia in sports with the launch of its Sports Project

2001—NCLR wins a landmark wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Sharon Smith against the owners of two vicious dogs who killed Sharon’s life partner, Diane Alexis Whipple

2002—NCLR wins a victory on behalf of a lesbian mother in Mississippi who lost custody of her child to her former husband who had physically abused and padlocked her in their home

2002—NCLR represents Michael Kantaras, a transgender dad in Florida, in a landmark custody and divorce case televised on Court TV

2003—NCLR litigates and wins the first school harassment case to involve both lesbian and gay students who were subjected to years of anti-lesbian and anti-gay harassment

2005—NCLR wins the first round of the California marriage battle when the San Francisco Superior Court rules that excluding same-sex couples from the right to marry violates the California Constitution

2006—NCLR successfully defends the marriage of a Cherokee lesbian couple before the Cherokee Supreme Court

2006—NCLR launches the Family Protection Project to improve access to family law services for low-income, same-sex parent families, with a focus on serving families of color

2007—In the first lawsuit to shine a public spotlight on pervasive homophobia in women’s sports, NCLR represents Jennifer Harris, a former college basketball star, in a discrimination case against Penn State and former coach Rene Portland

2007—NCLR represents a gay couple in a landmark victory against an internet adoption business that discriminates against same-sex couples and single parents

2007—NCLR and California Rural Legal Assistance launch another first-of-its-kind project, Proyecto Poderoso / Project Powerful, to improve legal services for low-income LGBT farm workers and people in rural California

2008—NCLR is lead counsel in the historic case in which the California Supreme Court rules the state can no longer exclude same-sex couples from marriage, including holding that LGBT people are entitled to the highest level of constitutional protection, the first time any high court has ever done so

2008—The day after passage of California’s Proposition 8, NCLR files a legal challenge with the California Supreme Court

2009—NCLR wins a case that establishes that Florida must give full faith and credit to all adoptions, including second-parent adoptions, granted to same-sex couples by other states

2009—NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter testifies in the first-ever congressional hearing on gender identity discrimination

2010—NCLR represents Clay Greene, an elderly man forcefully removed from the Northern California home he shared with his long-time partner after he was hospitalized, eventually settling the case for $600,000

2010—NCLR wins U.S. Supreme Court case upholding the right of colleges and universities to enforce non-discrimination policies that protect LGBT students

2011—NCLR client Vanessa Adams settles with Federal Bureau of Prisons, establishing major changes in transgender medical policy for those in federal facilities

2011—NCLR prevents state officials from separating and denying health care rights to an elderly lesbian couple in rural Florida

2011—NCLR successfully settles a federal case on behalf of two lesbian high school seniors in Minnesota, enabling them to walk together in “royalty court” procession

2011—NCLR wins 20 asylum cases on behalf of LGBT people facing unspeakable discrimination, harassment, and violence in their countries of origin

2011—NCLR drafts comments on behalf of over 30 organizations successfully persuading the Department of Housing and Urban Development to include LGBT people and families in their housing benefits and programs

2011—NCLR convinces Department of Health and Human Services to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in the new state healthcare exchanges

2012—NCLR’s 35th anniversary

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