National Center for Lesbian Rights

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Legislation & Policy

Denial-of-Care Rule

In January of 2018, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed federal regulation that would allow widespread discrimination in health care delivery in the name of religious liberty. The rule would allow health care providers to refuse to treat someone if their refusal is based on a religious reason. NCLR submitted extensive comments opposing the rule, which was nevertheless issued in final form in May of 2019. A number of organizations and state and local governments sued HHS to prevent the rule from going into effect. NCLR filed amicus briefs in the litigation challenging the rule. The rule was struck down in court. The Trump Administration has appealed the orders vacating the rule.

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Legislation & Policy

Common Ground Initiative

NCLR partners with the NCAA in the Common Ground Initiative to increase dialogue at conservative religious colleges about how LGBTQ inclusion and respect for religion can operate together to create safer, healthier, and more inclusive environments for student athletes—and by extension for all students.

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Legislation & Policy

State Policy Working Group

NCLR, along with other national LGBTQ organizations, is part of a State Policy Working Group that addresses proposed state legislation affecting LGBTQ people across the country. The group works to support local advocates in advancing bills to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, healthcare, and other areas, and to allow transgender and nonbinary people to obtain gender marker changes on identity documents.

The group also works to stop the dozens of hostile anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures every year. Among the proposed laws that have been successfully defeated are bills that would permit discrimination against same-sex couples who marry, create broad religious exemptions to existing civil rights protections, allow religiously-affiliated child welfare agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples, prohibit transgender people from using restrooms and other facilities based on their gender identity, and deprive transgender youth of access to gender-affirming medical care and participation in school sports based on their gender identity.

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Cases & Advocacy

Meriwether v. Shawnee State University

Jane Doe filed a Title IX complaint with Shawnee State University after Professor Meriwether refused to use female honorifics and pronouns when referring to Jane in class. When the university placed a discipline letter in his personnel file, Meriwether sued the university claiming that the disciplinary action infringed on his First Amendment right to free speech and free exercise of religion, among other violations of federal and state law.

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Cases & Advocacy

Vlaming v. West Point School Board

John Doe is a transgender student at West Point High School. Despite repeated requests, John’s French teacher, Peter Vlaming, refused to use male pronouns when referring to John. Vlaming was fired in December 2018 and subsequently sued the West Point School Board for allegedly violating his constitutional right to free speech and free excerise of religion, among other claims.

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Cases & Advocacy

New York v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Other Lawsuits Challenging the “Denial of Care” Rule Amicus

In 2019, NCLR filed four amicus briefs in eight federal lawsuits challenging a regulation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services called “Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care.” The Trump Administration’s regulation, more aptly referred to as the “denial of care” rule, would allow health care professionals to deny certain medical treatments or services to patients based on the provider’s own religious or moral beliefs.

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Cases & Advocacy

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia Amicus

Catholic Social Services (CSS), a foster care agency, brought the lawsuit claiming a constitutional right to discriminate against same-sex potential foster parents in violation of the agency’s contract with the City of Philadelphia and the City’s anti-discrimination ordinance. The district court denied CSS’s motion for a preliminary injunction, and CSS appealed.

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Cases & Advocacy

Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Amicus

In 2012, Colorado residents David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips informed them that because of his religious beliefs, the store would not serve customers who wanted to order cakes to celebrate a same-sex couple’s wedding. On June 4, 2018, the Supreme Court issued a landmark opinion in this case.

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Supreme Court Rules on Title VII! Give now & Celebrate!