National Center for Lesbian Rights

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Our Voices

New Healthcare Rules Provide Important Protections for People of Color and People with Disabilities

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued new rules  today confirming that LGBTQ people are protected against healthcare discrimination under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. These new rules confirm that healthcare services and coverage cannot be denied based on an individual’s sex, including their gender identity, nonconformity with sex stereotypes (including the stereotype that all people are, or should be, heterosexual), or the sex of the person with...


BIG NEWS: U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Reverses Alabama’s Assault on LGBTQ Adoptive Parents

Monday, in a ruling that will protect LGBTQ parents across the country, the U.S. Supreme Court sharply rebuked the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to recognize a Georgia adoption by a lesbian mother, our client. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in our case was unusual in three ways. First, it reversed the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision “summarily”—that is, without any briefing or oral argument, relying solely on the initial petition asking the Court to hear the case. Second, the decision...


AB 960: Protecting Families Using Assisted Reproduction Equally

Beginning January 1, 2016, California law will fully protect families conceiving children through assisted reproduction, regardless of how they conceive. California law already recognized many families using assisted reproduction, but it only provided protections to certain families. Assembly Bill 960—signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown in late 2015—provides several important new protections to ensure that all families are treated equally by the law. First, California did not...


We Still Need Full Equality for LGBTQ Families

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent marriage equality ruling has brought the freedom to marry to the entire country, recognizing the equal dignity of our families. However, there is a lot more we need to do to achieve true family equality that fully respects the rights of LGBTQ parents and their children. Let me share the story of Marisol and her spouse, Elena (names have been changed to protect their family). They decided to have a child and asked one of Marisol’s friends to be their sperm donor....


When Marriage Is Not Enough: What same-sex couples need to know about protecting their families

Marriage equality across the nation has been moving at a breakneck speed and it shows no sign of stopping. Achieving this new legal benefit has been an incredible advancement for the rights and dignity of all LGBTQ people. But it’s also important to remember that even though marriage provides thousands of couples and their families with many new legal protections, marriage alone is not enough to fully protect all LGBTQ families. Same-sex spouses and transgender spouses need to know that they...


Quality Legal Services for the Low-Income LGBTQ Community

Recently, a colleague at a legal aid organization told me about a client who came in for help because he had quit his job. It wasn’t until the attorney gave the client an overview of their legal programs, including their LGBTQ work, that the client opened up and said he had quit because he was being harassed at work for being gay. Without this kind of information, they would have never had a case. This story reinforced what we, at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, had known—that even a...


Reproductive Justice Means Fully Protecting All Families Under the Law

Hobby Lobby is not the beginning—nor  the end—of laws controlling the reproductive choices of oppressed groups and privileging the reproductive choices of a select few. Our legal system has a long and continuing history of restricting the reproductive choices of women, especially American Indian women, other women of color, low-income women, and people with disabilities. These restrictions have not been limited to access to birth control or forced sterilization. They have also targeted who can...


New CA Law Provides Equal Insurance Coverage for Fertility Services to LGBTQ Parents

Today, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 460, which clarifies that insurance coverage of fertility treatments must be offered and provided equally to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender prospective parents, who continue to face discrimination in receiving equal coverage for these services. Even though California law prohibits discrimination in insurance generally, same-sex couples, transgender prospective parents, and single prospective parents in California continue to...


Protecting LGBTQ Families Across the Nation

Since NCLR’s founding 35 years ago, we have worked to advance family law for LGBTQ people and their families. NCLR has helped change the law in numerous states over the years, including prohibiting courts from taking custody away from a parent just because of his or her sexual orientation, allowing same-sex couples to adopt, ensuring that transgender parents are recognized and protected, and recognizing all non-biological and non- adoptive parents as legal parents of their children. Although...


Separating lesbian mothers from their children violates human rights

No child should ever be separated from her mother just because of her mother’s sexual orientation, but this continues to happen to families around the world. Decades of social science research have shown that a parent’s sexual orientation has absolutely no effect on their ability to be a good parent. But courts still rely on discredited notions that being raised by a lesbian mother is harmful for children. On May 31, 2004, a Chilean Court ordered Karen Atala to give up custody of her three...


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