Please call your senators and urge them to oppose any cuts for the Legal Services Corporation. Our families are already vulnerable. We can’t afford to let one of the most critical protections for low-income LGBT parents and families lose this life-saving resource.
Every day, we get calls from low-income LGBT parents who urgently need legal help to apply for social security benefits for a child when a partner has died. To fight back against a former heterosexual spouse who is trying to take away custody of a child. To visit an ill or dying partner in the hospital. To rebut accusations that simply being an LGBT parent is grounds for the state to remove your child. To create partner protection documents such as wills, medical documents, and partnership and parenting agreements.
Through our Family Protection Project, NCLR partners with legal aid organizations all over the country to help low-income LGBT people. But we can’t do our work if our Legal Services partners no longer exist!
We need your help to make sure that LGBT people who have nowhere else to turn have access to the full protection of the law.
The cuts could not come at a worse time. The recession has pushed more families into poverty. Nearly 57 million Americans, including almost 20 million children, qualify for legal assistance. One in every two eligible clients who seeks assistance from a LSC-funded legal aid program is already turned away due to lack of resources. On top of that, many other sources of funding for legal aid have dried up.
"The fact is that the Legal Services organizations are essential resources for low-income LGBT people with urgent legal needs, particularly those who live in the many states where their rights under the law are still uncertain," says NCLR Staff Attorney and Family Protection Project Coordinator Cathy Sakimura. "Cutting funding to the LSC would leave millions of low-income LGBT people at the mercy of uninformed and often biased courts with no way to get legal assistance."
We have the power to make a difference for millions of vulnerable LGBT people all across the country. All eyes are now on the Senate to restore these funds and keep legal services fully funded. This week is critical as senators return home to their states for recess.
Please take a moment to act. Call your senators and urge them to oppose any cuts for the Legal Services Corporation. With your help, we can show the Senate that the LGBT movement is engaged and make sure that everyone has a fighting chance during these tough economic times.
Kate Kendell, Esq.
National Center for Lesbian Rights