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Southern Regional Report
Dear Friend of NCLR,
NCLR’s Southern Regional Office has been hard at work on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents, students, athletes, employees, and others in states where our community is still fighting to gain basic legal protections. We are committed to changing both the climate and the law to ensure that the next generation of LGBT youth living in the Southern region of our country can grow up whole and unscarred by the toxic effects of hatred and discrimination.
In Louisiana, NCLR is representing a lesbian mom battling to maintain contact with her daughter. In Arkansas, we are supporting the efforts of local activists seeking to defeat an anti-gay adoption initiative. In Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina, we have been helping to draft local anti-discrimination laws. And in several Southern states, we are representing LGBT athletes and coaches who have been targeted by their colleges and universities simply for being lesbian or gay.
We have been busy behind the scenes as we counsel and advocate for domestic partnership registries and human rights ordinances throughout Florida. And, as ever, our docket grows each month as we continue our cutting-edge litigation throughout the region.
Thank you for your support of this critical work. We could not do it without you. Please take a moment to visit our newly redesigned website to learn about the many ways you can engage with NCLR.
Karen Doering, Esq.
NCLR Southern Regional Office
St. Petersburg, Florida
Meet the Southern Regional Staff
NCLR Fights Biased Custody Decision in Louisiana
NCLR is representing Angie Palazzolo, a lesbian mother, in her appeal of a custody decision by a Louisiana trial court judge. Angie and her former partner had a child together and completed a second-parent adoption to ensure that both women would be legal parents. When they separated, however, the birth mother tried to challenge the adoption and sever Angie’s relationship with their child. Although the judge did not formally invalidate the couple’s second-parent adoption, he not only awarded sole custody to Angie’s former partner, but effectively cut off all visitation between Angie and her daughter. NCLR attorneys are working with local counsel to appeal this decision.
NCLR Offers New Publication About Legal Issues For LGBT Parents
As we continue our efforts to protect LGBT families, NCLR has published a comprehensive new publication for attorneys representing LGBT parents in Florida, “Child Custody and Visitation Issues for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Parents in Florida.” (pdf) LGBT families face complex legal issues, and through education and technical assistance, we are taking every possible step to expand our network in order to serve clients across the state. If you are an attorney interested in working with NCLR, please visit our website to become part of the NCLR network!
Update: Help Us Defeat an Adoption Ban in Arkansas
NCLR’s Southern Regional Office is working with activists and coalition partners in Arkansas to help defeat a new ballot measure that would prohibit gays and lesbians in Arkansas from adopting children. For more information about how to help defeat this insidious attack on our families, visit the ACLU of Arkansas.
NCLR Defends LGBT Athletes and Coaches
Anti-LGBT discrimination in athletic programs is one of the most painful and insidious barriers remaining to full equality for our community. NCLR is currently investigating allegations of gender and sexual orientation discrimination in collegiate sports programs at several major southern universities. NCLR attorneys are reaching out to these universities to offer training to the athletic departments, and to help them adopt policies prohibiting gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination. If we are not able to amicably resolve these issues, litigation is likely.
NCLR Teams Up With National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators
In October, Sports Project Director Helen Carroll and Sports Project attorney Karen Doering will attend the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators annual meeting to provide educational training, discuss policy development, and give technical legal assistance to athletic directors from college and university athletic programs around the country. This is an unprecedented opportunity to meet with key decision-makers in order to provide concrete legal reasons and organizational strategies for colleges and universities to address and end homophobia and discrimination in their athletic departments.
NCLR Works for Legislative Protections for LGBT People
NCLR’S Southern Regional Office has been busy working with activists in Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina drafting legislation, educating, and negotiating with local elected officials about passing fully inclusive local Human Rights Ordinances and Domestic Partnership Registries to help protect LGBT people and our families.
NCLR attorneys are also working with Equality Florida and others to draft language to add LGBT people to the Florida Civil Rights Act.
Update: NCLR Is Helping To Defeat Anti-Marriage Ban in Florida
NCLR is working in coalition with Fairness for all Families and Florida Red and Blue to defeat a Florida anti-marriage ballot initiative. If passed, the initiative would amend the Florida Constitution to not only prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, but also ensure that “no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized” in Florida. Although we do not yet know how courts will interpret this vague language, it will likely impact all unmarried couples—regardless of sexual orientation. Other states which have passed similar measures have seen challenges to everything from domestic partnership registries to employee benefits laws and policies to state domestic violence laws.
Join Us For One of Our Events
St. Petersburg, FL
2007 National Association Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators National Convention
Monday, October 8, 2007 - 9:00 am to 10:30 am
With Karen Doering Esq., Senior Counsel
The Oxford Hotel Ballroom
St. Petersburg, Florida
Join NCLR and the NACWAA in the Plenary Session II: "Legal Issues Surrounding Title IX" presented by NCLR's Senior Counsel Karen Doering alongside Nancy Hogshead-Makar.
To register, visit http://www.nacwaa.org/. For more information, contact Erica Wilson at 910.793.8244 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
5th Annual PFLAG Naples Gay-la Banquet
Sunday, November 11, 2007 - Social hour at 6:00 pm, Dinner at 7:00 pm
With Karen Doering Esq., Senior Counsel
Royal Wood Country Club
4300 Royal Wood Blvd.
Karen Doering, NCLR Senior Counsel will present the keynote address.
For information, contact Gabrielle (Gaye) Gilmore, President of PFLAG Naples at 239.597.6988 or email@example.com