National Center for Lesbian Rights

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Jennifer Tobits

NCLR Celebrates 36 Years of Legal Victories

Honors Leaders in the Movements for LGBTQ Equality (San Francisco, CA, May 18, 2013)—More than 1,500 people gathered today to celebrate the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ 36th Anniversary Celebration and to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement heroes who are changing the legal landscape for every member of our diverse community. “The Anniversary Celebration always leaves me inspired by the courage of people who are willing to stand up and challenge...

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Jennifer and Ellyn: A Life Interrupted

They had planned a family together. A baby. Maybe two. They’d spend hours talking about their future, often getting so lost in conversation at night they’d forget about the time until the sun was about to rise the next morning. Sarah “Ellyn” Farley used to say she was “courting” Jennifer Tobits—not just dating her, as she knew their connection would lead them down the aisle. A year into their relationship, Ellyn asked Jennifer to be her wife. The two soon traveled from their home in Chicago to...

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A Grieving Widow Fights Back

I cannot imagine the searing pain of losing a partner. I hope, of course, that I live my whole life never knowing such loss. In our work at NCLR, we have represented a number of men and women living through that almost unbearable tragedy, and in every case, their loss is compounded and the injury magnified by the fact that others or the government treat the couple as legal strangers. In our 2001 case on behalf of Sharon Smith, the horror was unmatched. Sharon’s partner of seven years, Diane...

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Cozen O’Connor, P.C. v. Tobits

Jennifer Tobits and Sarah Ellyn Farley married in Toronto in 2006. Two weeks after their wedding, Ellyn was diagnosed with cancer. The Chicago couple fought the disease together for their entire marriage, until Ellyn passed away in September 2010. Because Ellyn’s parents had never accepted her marriage to Jennifer, they feared that Ellyn’s parents would make legal claims to their property and generally attack Jennifer’s status as Ellyn’s spouse. Shortly after...

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