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Our Voices

Christiansen v. Omicom Group, Inc.

Matthew Christiansen, a gay man, sued his employer based on his allegation that his supervisor engaged in a pattern of harassment targeting his sexual orientation and nonconformity with sex stereotypes. A federal district court in New York dismissed his lawsuit based on precedent holding that Title VII, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in the workplace, does not protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. The district court criticized earlier decisions...


O’Connor v. Pension Plan for Office Employees of the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, Inc.

In November 2016, NCLR and attorney Teresa Renaker appealed a decision by the New York Philharmonic-Symphony’s pension plan denying a spousal benefit to Thomas O’Connor, a retired employee, and his husband, Victor Bumbalo. The plan originally denied the benefit on the basis that federal law in effect when Mr. O’Connor retired in 2009 did not recognize the marriage. O’Connor and Bumbalo met and fell in love in 1967 at Bennington College. Ten years later, O’Connor began working for the New York...


Debra H. v. Janice R.

Debra H. and Janice R. were a same-sex couple living in New York who planned to have a child together and entered a Vermont civil union. After Janice gave birth to a child conceived through alternative insemination, Debra and Janice lived together and parented their child together for over two years. After the couple separated, Debra continued to visit the child regularly, until Janice cut off contact when the child was four-and-a-half years old. A trial court awarded Debra visitation, and...


Mariah L. v. Administration for Children’s Services

Mariah L. sought coverage for transition-related healthcare as a 20-year-old transgender woman in foster care in New York City. Mariah’s doctors have all agreed that sex reassignment surgery is medically necessary for her. In New York, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) has a duty to provide and pay for all necessary medical care and treatment for children placed in foster care, but ACS has refused to provide Mariah with the medical care that she needs. Mariah...


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