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Our Voices

In the Interest of A.E.

C.W. and M.N. were a married same-sex couple who decided to conceive a child using an anonymous sperm donor. Unfortunately, the couple separated during the pregnancy, but C.W. was present when their baby, A.E. was born, and was involved in A.E.’s care and support until M.N. stopped allowing her to see the baby. The couple had joint baby showers, gave the child a hyphenated last name, and celebrated Mother’s Day together. Even though Texas recognizes that different-sex spouses who conceive...

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Whitaker v. Kirby

NCLR and Joshua Langdon represented three transgender youth and their families in a lawsuit against Warren County Judge Joseph Kirby. The complaint alleged that Judge Kirby violated the United States Constitution by denying name changes to transgender youth based on his biases about transgender people. Judge Kirby moved to dismiss the case. On October 29, 2018, the District Court held that Judge Kirby could not be sued for exercising his judicial discretion in denying name changes to...

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Jespersen v. Harrah’s Casino

NCLR and the Transgender Law Center filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit supporting Darlene Jespersen, who was fired by Harrah’s Casino after she refused to comply with a new policy requiring female employees to adopt a hyper-feminine appearance. Harrah’s policy required all women to wear heavy makeup applied in exactly the same way every day, to match a photograph held by the supervisor. On April 14, 2006, in a 7-4 ruling, an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of...

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Martinez v. Holder

Saul Martinez is a gay man from Guatemala who was beaten, sexually assaulted, and threatened by Guatemalan Congressman and repeatedly harassed by the Guatemalan police because of his sexual orientation. He fled to the United States and applied for asylum. However, in 1992, when he initially applied for asylum without an attorney, the U.S. had not yet recognized sexual orientation as a ground for asylum. Afraid of being forced back to Guatemala, where he feared for his life, Martinez did not...

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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....

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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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Bennett v. Bowen

In June 2008, three California voters and Equality California, an organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of LGBTQ people, filed a lawsuit in the California Supreme Court to remove Proposition 8 from the November ballot. Proposition 8 was a measure to change the California Constitution to eliminate the right to marry for same-sex couples. The lawsuit argued that the proponents of Proposition 8 did not follow the appropriate rules for revising the California Constitution. The...

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Margaret K. v. Janice M.

Margaret K. and Janice M. adopted a daughter during their committed relationship of 17 years. Because they adopted their daughter from India, which does not allow unmarried couples to adopt, only Janice adopted the child, but she and Margaret raised their daughter together. When their daughter was 7, Margaret and Janice separated and Janice refused to allow Margaret to see their daughter. An intermediate appellate court found that Margaret has a parent-child relationship with her daughter and...

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Etsitty v. Utah Transit Authority

Despite her spotless employment record, Krystal Etsitty, a transgender woman, was fired from her job as a public bus driver by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), solely because the UTA feared that members of the public might be offended by Etsitty’s transgender identity. A federal district court in Utah dismissed Etsitty’s case, holding that federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination do not protect transgender people. Etsitty appealed this decision to the Tenth Circuit Court of...

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Stanton v. City of Largo

NCLR represented Susan Stanton, who was threatened with termination from her longtime position as the City Manager for the City of Largo, Florida after her employer learned that she is transgender and will be undergoing sex reassignment. Despite Stanton’s 17 years of dedicated service to the City of Largo, the City Commission voted on February 28, 2007 to begin the legal process of firing Stanton, who informed the Commission that she is transgender after learning that a local newspaper...

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