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

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Family & Relationships

Case: Hedberg v. Detthow

STATUS: Victory, Maryland

In June 2005, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that gay father Ulf Hedberg, must be given an opportunity to challenge a custody restriction prohibiting him from living with his same-sex partner.

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Sports

Case: Jennifer Harris v. Maureen Portland, Penn State University, and Timothy Curley

STATUS: Victory, Pennslyvania

NCLR client Jennifer Harris reached a settlement with Penn State and its women’s basketball coach Rene Portland and athletic director Tim Curley in a groundbreaking lawsuit. Harris had alleged discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and invasion of privacy.

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State Legislation & Policy

Case: Florida Anti-Gay Ballot Initiative

STATUS: Loss, Florida

NCLR, the ACLU, and Equality Florida challenged a proposed anti-gay voter initiative in the Florida Supreme Court. The measure, if passed, would block recognition of marriage and jeopardize the current domestic partner protections.

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Federal Legislation & Policy

Case: Etsitty v. Utah Transit Authority

STATUS: Loss, Utah

Despite her spotless employment record, Krystal Etsitty, a transgender woman, was fired from her job as a public bus driver by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), solely because the UTA feared that members of the public might be offended by Etsitty’s transgender identity.

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Family & Relationships

Case: Elisa B. v. Superior Court

STATUS: Victory, California

Elisa and Emily had twins together while they were in a committed relationship. One of the twins has Down Syndrome and requires round-the-clock medical care. After Elisa and Emily separated, Elisa, the non-biological mother, stopped visiting the twins or providing any financial support.

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Employment

Case: Sulpizio v. San Diego Mesa College

STATUS: Victory, California

Lorri Sulpizio was the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at San Diego Mesa College (Mesa), and her domestic partner, Cathy Bass, assisted the team and served as the team’s Director of Basketball Operations for over eight years. Despite Sulpizio’s and Bass’s dedication and demonstrated track record of success leading the women’s basketball program at the community…

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State Legislation & Policy

Case: Dykes on Bikes

STATUS: Victory, California

NCLR and the Brooke Oliver Law Group represented the San Francisco Women’s Motorcycle Contingent in an action to register the name “Dykes on Bikes” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO initially rejected the application on the ground that the term “Dykes on Bikes” is disparaging to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender…

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Youth

Case: Davis v. Fleming High School

STATUS: Victory, Florida

NCLR represented Kelli Davis, a senior at Fleming High School, who was denied the right to appear in her senior yearbook because she wore a tuxedo rather than stereotypically feminine clothing.

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Family & Relationships

Case: Katherine Anne Fisher Davenport et al. v. Deborah Little-Bowser et al.

STATUS: Victory, Virginia

The ACLU of Virginia sued on behalf of four children adopted by same-sex couples after the Virginia Department of Vital Records refused to issue new birth certificates listing both of the children’s adoptive parents. The children were born in Virginia, but adopted by same-sex couples in the District of Columbia and New York. NCLR assisted Professor Joan Hollinger, one of the nation’s foremost scholars on adoption law, in filing an amicus brief supporting the children’s right to obtain accurate birth certificates.

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Additional Civil Rights

Case: Burrows v. ILWU

STATUS: Victory, California

Marvin Burrows and his partner William Swenor were together for 51 years. Burrows and Swenor did everything within their power to demonstrate their commitment to each other and to provide for the surviving partner in the event of one partner’s death, including registering as domestic partners. Swenor worked as a warehouse crew leader for more than 35 years. Throughout Swenor’s employment, he was a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and contributed to their pension plan.

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