As a non-profit legal organization dedicated to LGBT civil and human rights, NCLR works to ensure LGBT individuals enjoy full fairness, opportunity, and equality. Our work often includes civil rights advocacy related to issues beyond our identified program areas, such as freedom of speech, full and equal access to public accommodations, and as in our recent advocacy on behalf of DYKES ON BIKES, even trademark law. NCLR is committed to addressing the full range of legal issues that affect the LGBT community in all aspects of work, family, and community life.
news & opinion
Maine Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics Joins Other Child Welfare Organizations on Brief Supporting Transgender Girl
5.3.13—Today, the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and other child welfare organizations filed an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in support of a transgender girl who experienced discrimination and harassment at her Orono school.
NCLR Applauds House and Senate Introduction of ENDA
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell
4.25.13—(San Francisco, CA, April 25, 2013)—Today, a bi-partisan group of Senators and House members introduced the fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit most employers across the country from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers. In the Senate, the bill was introduced by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mark Kirk (R-Ill), and Susan Collins (R-ME). In the House of Representatives, the bill was introduced by Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and joined by more than 100 co-sponsors.
NCLR Responds to Introduction of Federal Immigration Reform Legislation
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.
4.17.13—Today, a bipartisan group of Senators who have been working on a plan to fix the current broken U.S. immigration system released their long-awaited proposal for comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The bill, called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, presents a massive overhaul to many aspects of our current approach to immigration. The plan provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people, including an expedited process for DREAMers, creates new types of visas, and requires the government to clear the high backlog for family-sponsored visas.
NCLR Responds to U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument in Defense of Marriage Act Case
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.
3.27.13—Today, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in a constitutional challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Supreme Court heard 50 minutes of argument concerning the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the case and one hour of argument concerning the constitutionality of DOMA.
NCLR Responds to U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument in Proposition 8 Case
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.
3.26.13—Today, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in the constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. The Court heard one hour of arguments from attorneys supporting and opposing the constitutionality of Prop 8.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Groups Release Joint Statement on Immigration Reform as U.S. Senators Release Set of Principles for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
1.28.13—National lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights organizations, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, today released a joint statement reiterating the call for a comprehensive immigration policy that ensures fair and just treatment for all those currently impacted by our failed immigration policy. It comes as a bipartisan group of U.S. senators today released a set of principles for comprehensive immigration reform, and as President Obama prepares to announce his own immigration plans tomorrow.
HUD Enforces LGBT Equal Access Rule
Statement by NCLR Policy Director Maya Rupert, Esq.
1.2.13—Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a settlement agreement in a claim it brought against Bank of America for discriminating against a lesbian couple applying for a federally insured mortgage loan. This settlement marks HUD’s first enforcement action taken under its recently enacted LGBT Equal Access Rule.
NCLR and EQCA Move to Intervene in Lawsuit to Defend Law Protecting LGBT Youth From Psychological Abuse
10.20.12—Late Friday, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson filed court papers seeking to intervene in a federal lawsuit challenging the new California law protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young people from dangerous and potentially deadly psychological abuse. NCLR and Munger Tolles filed the motion on behalf of Equality California asking the federal district court in Sacramento to permit them to join California Attorney General Kamala Harris in defending Senate Bill 1172, which prohibits state-licensed therapists who claim to be able to change their clients’ sexual orientation or gender expression from using dangerous practices that can lead to extreme depression and suicide.
CA Governor Brown Signs Bill To Protect LGBT Youth From Psychological Abuse
9.29.12—California Governor Jerry Brown made history today by signing a landmark bill that will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth from psychological abuse by deceitful mental health professionals who falsely claim to be able to change their sexual orientation or gender expression.
NCLR Files Federal Lawsuit Against Indianapolis Public Schools For Failing to Protect Gay Student
8.31.12—Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the law firms of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Waples & Hanger filed a federal lawsuit challenging Indianapolis Public Schools’ (IPS) discriminatory treatment and failure to protect an openly gay former student who faced severe and relentless harassment at Arsenal Technical High School (Tech) throughout the 2011-2012 school year. Rather than address the constant harassment and abuse suffered by 17-year-old Dynasty Young, school administrators blamed the harassment on Young’s gender nonconforming clothes and “flamboyant” behavior. Ultimately, IPS expelled Dynasty instead of taking effective measures to protect him from the harassment.
CA State Assembly Passes Landmark Bill to Protect LGBT Youth From Dangerous Psychological Abuse
8.28.12—The California Assembly today voted 52 to 21 in favor of a bill that will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth from dangerous and abusive treatments by mental health practitioners who falsely claim to be able change their sexual orientation or gender expression. Authored by Senator Ted Lieu, Senate Bill 1172 is co-sponsored by Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gaylesta, Mental Health America of Northern California, Lambda Legal, and the Courage Campaign. The bill will return to the Senate for a vote to concur in amendments made in the Assembly before proceeding to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.
from the docket
Victory! (U.S. Supreme Court)
Christian Legal Society v. Martinez
Like many public schools, the University of California - Hastings College of the Law allows law students to organize student groups that can apply for university funding and other resources for group-related events. To be recognized as an official student group, all student groups must abide by Hastings' policy on nondiscrimination. In 2004, the Christian Legal Society (CLS) filed a lawsuit against Hastings, arguing that the nondiscrimination policy violated the group's First Amendment right to discriminate against LGBT and non-Christian students. NCLR represents Outlaw, the LGBT student group at Hastings, which intervened to defend the University's policy. Hastings is represented by Ethan Schulman of Crowell & Moring LLP.
Loss (U.S. Supreme Court)
Iqbal v. Ashcroft
Pakistani national Javaid Iqbal was arrested in New York as part of a post-September 11 dragnet by federal officials that targeted Arab men, among others. The U.S. detained Iqbal, subjecting him to beatings, frequent invasive body searches, and other forms of mistreatment, and often confiscated his Koran and forbade his participation in Friday prayers. NCLR has a strong interest in ensuring that all persons receive the protections of the basic civil liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and is concerned about government treatment of individuals, racial/ethnic targeting, and religious freedom violations. NCLR joined an amicus brief opposing the government’s efforts to make it more difficult for civil rights plaintiffs to discover information about higher government officials who set and oversee policies that violate people’s rights.
Dykes on Bikes
NCLR, Oliver-Sabec, P.C., and Townsend and Townsend and Crew LLP represented the San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent in a lengthy action to register the name "Dykes on Bikes" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The Federal Hate Crimes bill has passed in Congress. On October 8, 2009 the House of Representatives voted on the conference report on the DoD Authorization bill, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an amendment, and passed at 281–146. The Senate approved the report, 68-29, on October 22, 2009, passing the bill to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.
NCLR has long supported passage of this key measure – assisting with drafting bill provisions, drawing public attention to the problem of hate violence and the need for hate crimes legislation, and providing grassroots support necessary for its passage.
proyecto poderoso | powerful project
NCLR has partnered with California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) to expand civil rights enforcement on behalf of low-income LGBT residents of rural California.
In rural communities, crosscurrents of poverty, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and immigration status have marginalized LGBT people. Low-income individuals in rural communities struggle to find affordable, local counsel with expertise in LGBT-related law.
In the face of these challenges, NCLR and CRLA have created Proyecto Poderoso—Powerful Project. Proyecto Poderoso will improve the daily lives of LGBT people in small towns and communities across California by helping them protect their rights.
The National LGBT Legal Aid Forum is a new listserv dedicated to improving legal services for low-income LGBT clients. This listserv is a forum for members to post questions and answers related to serving LGBT clients, and to share resources and updates on new developments in LGBT-related law. Legal aid advocates who are committed to effectively advocating for LGBT people and their families are invited to apply for membership. Attorneys from national, state and regional LGBT legal organizations who wish to communicate directly with a community of LGBT-supportive legal aid advocates are also invited to apply.
The Forum’s members include advocates with expertise in various aspects of LGBT-related law, including, but not limited to family, employment, health, immigration and domestic violence law. Legal aid advocates with no prior experience serving LGBT clients, but who wish to build their knowledge base and access related information, are also welcome. This listserv is administered by California Rural Legal Assistance and the National Center for Lesbian Rights with guidance and support from a committee of attorneys from New York Legal Assistance Group, Lambda Legal and Legal Services of Northern California.