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Our Voices

Ely v. Saul

In February 2021, NCLR and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed amicus briefs urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm rulings in favor of surviving same-sex spouses who were denied equal access to Social Security survivor’s benefits. The cases are Ely v. Saul, a nationwide class action, and two individual cases, Driggs v. Saul and Schmoll v. Saul. In November 2021, the Social Security Administration (SSA) dismissed its appeals in these cases as well as its...


D.T. v. Christ

Plaintiffs D.T., Jane Doe, and Helen Roe are transgender children who unable to correct the gender markers on their birth certificates because of Arizona’s discriminatory laws.  Arizona requires transgender people to undergo surgery to obtain a birth certificate that matches who they are.  That surgery requirement is particularly harmful to transgender young people, like D.T., Jane, and Helen, because it is not medically appropriate for them to undergo those surgeries at their...


D.H. v. Snyder

D.H. and John Doe are transgender teenagers who require male chest reconstruction surgery to treat their gender dysphoria. Arizona is refusing to cover this medically necessary treatment because of a categorical exclusion on covering surgical treatments for gender dysphoria in the state’s Medicaid regulations. That discriminatory exclusion violates well-established standards of care and federal law. On August 6, 2020, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the National Health Law...


Equality Arizona v. Hoffman

Plaintiff Santi Ceballos On March 28, 2019, Equality Arizona, represented by National Center for Lesbian Rights and Lambda Legal, along with law professor Clifford Rosky and pro bono counsel Perkins Coie LLP, filed a federal lawsuit challenging Arizona’s anti-LGBTQ curriculum law, which bars public school students from receiving medically accurate, age-appropriate information about non-heterosexual people in their health education classes. Arizona law prohibits instruction in HIV/AIDS...


Paul E. v. Courtney F.

Paul E. and Courtney F. disagreed about the appropriate response to their child’s gender dysphoria. After a week-long trial, the judge issued an opinion awarding primary custody to the father, but also ordering that the child’s then-current therapist continue treating the child. The court also appointed an expert in the mental health of transgender children to advise the parties and the court about ongoing treatment. The Supreme Court remanded the matter back to the trial court to determine...


Torrez v. Bombard

Rhonda Bombard and Sandra Torrez were a same-sex couple who had two children through assisted reproduction. Rhonda gave birth to the children, and the couple raised their children together for seven years. Rhonda then secretly moved the children to New York and cut off contact with Sandra. An Arizona trial court ordered that Sandra be given visitation with the child, but Rhonda refused to follow the order and appealed. The Arizona Court of Appeals held that the order was only a temporary order...


Turner v. Steiner (Oakley)

Heather Turner and Liza Oakley were a married same-sex couple who had a child using assisted reproduction. Heather gave birth to the child and both parents were listed on the birth certificate. Heather and Liza raised the baby together, with Liza staying as the primary caregiver until they broke up the following year. In their divorce, Heather argued that Liza was not a parent, but the Arizona trial court recognized both parents. Heather sought a review of that decision, and the Arizona Court...


McLaughlin v. McLaughlin

Suzan McLaughlin and Kimberly McLaughlin were a married lesbian couple who had a child using artificial insemination with an anonymous donor in 2011. The parties separated in 2013 and Kimberly stopped allowing Suzan to see their child. Suzan filed the original action to be recognized as a parent in 2013. In April 2016, the trial court ruled that Suzan is a legal parent under Arizona law. On October 11, 2016 the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s opinion and found that...


B.H., a transgender boy

When B.H. was in second grade, his peers began bullying and ostracizing him because he’s transgender. Worse, some parents organized a campaign to force the school district to stop treating B.H. as male, and to prohibit him from using the boys’ restroom. It didn’t take long before B.H. began showing significant psychological distress and his mom asked NCLR for help. NCLR worked with the school district to safeguard B.H.’s right to learn in a safe and welcoming...


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