LAMBDA LEGAL

DOCKET SUMMARY

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Relationship Equality for LGBT Couples II. LGBT Parents and Their Families III. Workplace Fairness IV. HIV Rights V. Health Care Fairness VI. Transgender Rights VII. LGBTQ Youth & Schools VIII. LGBTQ Youth in Out-of-Home Care IX. Government Misconduct X. Proyecto Igualdad XI. Fair Courts Project XII. Help Desk

This Docket Summary outlines important developments that took place over the past 12 months as of September 2011.

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RELATIONSHIP EQUALITY FOR LGBT COUPLES
Chipping Away at DOMA Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management & Other Lawsuits
In July 2011, the Department of Justice filed a brief in support of our ongoing case, Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management, arguing that DOMA is unconstitutional, while acknowledging the fact that the federal government has played a real and significant role in discriminating against lesbians and gay men. This brief was the first of its kind to be filed by the government in any legal challenge to DOMA and strongly supports important arguments that we are making in this case, which is now one of the leading legal challenges to DOMA. We filed this lawsuit against the federal government in 2010 on behalf of a lesbian employee of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Karen Golinski, who sought to enroll her spouse Amy Cunninghis in the health insurance plan provided by her federal employer. Months prior to the July brief from DOJ, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office announced it would no longer defend the federal government’s refusal to recognize same-sex couples’ valid marriages under DOMA because it is unconstitutional. Though the attorney general and White House will no longer defend DOMA against legal attacks, they are continuing to enforce DOMA until Congress or the courts tell them otherwise. Instead, leadership of the House of Representatives itself has hired counsel to defend DOMA in Golinski and other legal challenges. Lambda Legal is committed to ending DOMA through the courts and policy work. In addition to litigating Golinski, we are providing legal advocacy in two other lawsuits challenging DOMA

Legislative Repeal and Federal Advocacy
Lambda Legal worked with coalition partners to support the reintroduction of the Respect for Marriage Act (“RMA”) to the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives in March. Utilizing our extensive legal work on behalf of marriage equality, including our victory in Iowa, we helped draft the bill’s language. The RMA, if passed and signed into law, will repeal DOMA and allow states to choose who can marry. The federal government would also recognize all marriages lawfully entered by same-sex couples without regard for their state of residence.

DOMA & Bi-National Families
Lambda Legal is working closely with LGBT and immigrants rights organizations to help oppose the unfair deportation of binational, same-sex spouses who are lawfully married to U.S citizens. As part of this work, Lambda Legal recently filed a friendof-the-court brief in a high-profile immigration case, Matter of Alcota, arguing that the Board of Immigration Appeals should put deportation proceedings on hold until the current challenges to DOMA are resolved. In this case, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services relied on outdated case law to rule against a non-citizen who is married to a same-sex U.S. citizen, and to break up a bi-national family

Garden State Equality v. Dow Back to New Jersey for Marriage Equality!
After nearly a decade of fighting for marriage equality in New Jersey, Lambda Legal is back in court representing Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization, and seven same-sex couples and their children who are harmed by New Jersey’s unequal civil union system. Our case argues that the civil union law violates both the New Jersey Constitution and the federal Constitution. New Jersey’s civil unions create a confusing legal status for same-sex couples and their children, often resulting in harms during times of medical emergencies, and also deny workplace benefits and protections equal to those accorded (afforded?) to married people. This exclusion deprives them of certainty in their legal rights and status, and often increases financial burdens. We hope that our long history of work in New Jersey produces full marriage equality soon.

Illinois Civil Union Tracker Ensuring and Monitoring Equality
On December 1, 2010 the Illinois General Assembly passed the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act, establishing legal protections for same-sex couples across the state through civil unions. Lambda Legal’s staff provided extensive legal analysis and drafting assistance for the act, as well as public education and legislative advocacy pressing for its passage. With that first step accomplished, Lambda Legal launched the Illinois Civil Union Tracker as a tool to provide couples with information on the new rights and responsibilities granted to them through civil unions. The Tracker will also let us garner information regarding

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Maryland Paving the Way for Marriage Equality
Lambda Legal worked closely with activists and legislative staff in Maryland who attempted to secure passage of a state marriage equality bill. One of our senior attorneys testified before the Maryland State Senate and thereafter before the Maryland House of Delegates in support of the bill; unfortunately the marriage bill failed to gain enough support in the House. We moved on a number of fronts in Maryland—in the courts, with administrative agencies, and in arbitration proceedings—on behalf of same-sex couples in Maryland who were married in other jurisdictions but whose marriage was not being recognized by the government. Maryland recognizes other out-of-state marriages that could not be entered into within the state, and there is no reason same-sex couples should not be recognized as well. We successfully won recognition of the marriages in two such instances, and are providing legal assistance in additional cases on appeal seeking recognition of out-of-state marriages for purposes of divorce. Through Lambda Legal’s intensive advocacy in Maryland, we are helping to pave the way for full marriage equality. We will provide legal information and assistance as appropriate in support of the newly formed LGBT coalition, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, which aims to pass a marriage bill in 2012.

IRS Regulation Changes Educating Our Community on New Rights and Responsibilities
In the fall of 2010, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) made an important policy change to recognize the shared property of same-sex couples in three states with a specific intersection of laws (joint property rules and broad marriage or domestic partner laws): California, Washington, and Nevada. We jumped to action to help educate community members impacted by this change for the 2010 tax filing season. We created and distributed a fact sheet in both English and Spanish that was posted on our website and viewed 8,190 times. We also organized public forums in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle, and moderated an additional public forum designed specifically to reach people of color in Los Angeles. We hosted three public teleconferences for all affected couples and responded to over 220 calls to our free Help Desk hotline from couples in these states with questions about the new IRS regulations. Through these public events and teleconferences, we were able to directly educate over 1,500 couples on how to navigate the new regulations. We plan to launch a second round of educational forums for the 2011 tax season.

Appling v. Doyle Victory (again)! Curbing Anti-Gay Attacks on Same Sex Couples
In a recent victory, for the second time we helped to prevent Wisconsin’s domestic partner registry from legal attacks by the anti-LGBT organizations Alliance Defense Fund and Wisconsin Family Action. In 2009 and 2010, the anti-gay groups initiated legal proceedings claiming that the domestic partnership law violated Wisconsin’s antigay constitutional amendment barring marriage equality. In both situations we intervened on behalf of Fair Wisconsin—the statewide LGBT advocacy group—and its members. Though far from providing comprehensive benefits similar to marriage, Wisconsin’s domestic partnership registry provides over 15,000 same-sex couples across the state with vital legal protections during times of illness and crisis.

Young v. Lingle & Civil Union Legislation in Hawai`i Victory!
Along with the ACLU of Hawai`i, we filed a case against the state for violating its own constitutional guarantees of equal treatment by denying same-sex couples important rights and protections available to all heterosexual couples through marriage. In February 2011, after years of advocacy by state-based groups and within months after we filed our case, Hawai`i’s legislature successfully enacted a civil union bill that secures the basic rights our lawsuit sought. In partnership with ACLU of Hawai`i, Equality Hawai`i and HRC, we helped to educate Hawai`i’s legislators on the importance of passing a civil union bill. We also spoke out against the veto of a previous civil union bill by the former Governor Linda Lingle. Hawai`i’s second-class “reciprocal beneficiaries” system for same-sex couples failed to provide many basic rights and was a confusing, limited status that invited discrimination from public and private entities alike—sending a deeply stigmatizing message that the state views same-sex couples as unworthy of full legal protections. We celebrate this victory and will continue to pursue full marriage equality through policy work.

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Perry v. Brown (Formerly Perry v. Schwarzenegger) Assisting with California Marriage Litigation & Challenging Attacks on Openly LGBT Justices.
The first ruling in the Perry case, issued in August 2010, was a resounding victory for marriage equality—holding that Proposition 8 cannot stand because it violates the equal protection and due process rights of Californians in same-sex relationships. Drawing directly from Lambda Legal’s historic work for marriage equality, including our Iowa marriage case, we continue to consult extensively with Ted Olson, David Boies and their legal team, after having helped shape the expert witness presentations that proved withholding marriage harms same-sex couples and their families. Lambda Legal, along with other LGBT rights organizations, took a strong public stand against a motion filed by Proposition 8 supporters to overturn the August 2010 ruling because the judge who made the decision was in a long-term relationship with another man. We filed an amicus brief along with the ACLU and NCLR, arguing that the motion was offensive and closely parallels long-discredited historical attempts to disqualify judges based on their race, sex or religion. Thankfully a federal court ruled that a judge being gay is not grounds for recusal, allowing the August 2010 ruling against Proposition 8 to stand. Even though it is clear that Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional because it violated the constitution—not because the judge who issued the ruling is gay—the proponents of Proposition 8 are now appealing their rejected motion.

Maintaining our Historic Marriage Victory in Iowa
As a result of four years of legal work in the case Varnum v. Brien, on April 9, 2009 the Iowa Supreme Court became the first state court in our nation’s history to unanimously rule that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is unconstitutional. We remain committed to preserving our victory by challenging attacks against Iowa courts that are led by anti-LGBT smear campaigns representing local and out-of-state special interest groups. Unfortunately, during Iowa’s retention election in 2010, three of the justices who participated in Varnum and who were up for routine retention elections lost their seats. We are working with One Iowa, American Judicature Society, Justice at Stake, Justice Not Politics, and the Iowa State Bar Association to prevent further unfair attacks against Iowa courts during the 2012 retention election. To help oppose legislative maneuvers attempting to overthrow our marriage victory, we worked closely with Zach Wahls, the college-age son of lesbian mothers in Iowa who became a national spokesperson when his powerful testimony before the Iowa legislature went “viral” on YouTube. We had met Zach at our first Family Summit in Iowa, and worked with him to amplify his message and voice as an advocate for marriage equality. Because of the success of the first Family Summit, we will be organizing another summit in the state to recruit and train spokespeople – particularly the adult children of LGBT parents – to help publicly support LGBT rights and marriage equality.

Collins v. Brewer Preventing the Elimination of Partner Benefits in Arizona.
Lambda Legal is spearheading a lawsuit representing Arizona government employees who risk losing domestic partner benefits for their loved ones after Arizona lawmakers passed a provision stripping domestic partner health coverage from state employees as part of a last– minute budget deal. The family members of these gay and lesbian employees will face terrible consequences and risks losing access to health benefits, including the lack of coverage for treatment of chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes. As a result of our work on this case, a federal judge in Phoenix has issued a preliminary injunction requiring the state to maintain family benefits for all lesbian and gay state employees during the case. For Lambda Legal and our clients, this is an issue of equal pay for equal work, and the discriminatory statute passed by the legislature relegates the state’s gay and lesbian employees to a second-class status.

DeWolf and Watts v. Countrywide Led to Fannie Mae Policy Change Benefiting Thousands of LGBT Homeowners
In August 2010, Lambda Legal settled our lawsuit against Countrywide Financial after the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) announced policy changes allowing homeowners to add their domestic partners to their home’s deed without penalty. Lambda Legal filed a discrimination lawsuit in 2007 on behalf of a lesbian couple after Countrywide declared their home’s mortgage to be in default when the deed holder attempted to add her female partner to their home’s deed and mortgage. Our work in this case prompted Fannie Mae’s policy changes, which now permits people in all 50 states to add their domestic partner or other cohabitants to their home deed without penalty. We hope other leaders in the home mortgage industry will make similar policy changes.

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LGBT PARENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Adar v. Smith Potential U.S. Supreme Court Case! Protecting the Parent-Child Bond for Same-Sex Couples
In July 2011, we asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case in which the State of Louisiana refused to recognize an out-of-state adoption by a same-sex couple. We originally filed this case in 2007 on behalf of the couple Oren Adar and Mickey Smith who were denied an accurate birth certificate for their son who was born in Louisiana and adopted in New York State. After we won in the lower court, a U.S. District Judge issued a judgment ordering the State’s Registrar to provide a new birth certificate identifying both Oren Adar and Mickey Smith as the boy’s parents, saying her continued failure to do so violated the U.S. Constitution—a judgment that also was affirmed by a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the state requested a rehearing which resulted in a disappointing reversal of the two previous decisions by a narrowly-divided en banc court. Because this decision threatens the ability to enforce the existing universal protections the U.S. Constitution provides to families, including respect for their parent-child relationships, we have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn it. The judgment by the Court of Appeals ignores nearly one hundred years of well-established Supreme Court law and conflicts with other federal circuits across the country. Left untouched, it leaves adopted children and their parents very vulnerable.

Catholic Charities et al. v. Illinois et al. Preventing State Funding of Discriminatory Child Welfare Agencies.
See Youth in Out-of-Home-Care

In the Matter of L.K.M. Seeking Equal Co-Parenting Rights for LGBT Couples
In this Ohio case, Lambda Legal represented Michele Hobbs, a non-biological mother seeking shared custody and visitation rights with the child she has parented with her former same-sex partner. In 2010, the case was accepted by the Ohio Supreme Court, which disappointingly found in favor of the biological mother, granting her full custody. Though this is the final and tragic decision for this case, we find optimism in the Hon. Justice Paul Pfeifer’s dissenting opinion stating, “The majority’s decision today is the last step in this saga, and sadly, the best interests of [the child] will never have been considered at any level. Instead, Mullen’s self-interest will be the sole determining factor. Besides Hobbs and Lucy, common decency is another victim in this case. Mullen was able to use the law as a weapon because same-sex co-parents lack legal rights.” We are confident that another case will arise where Lambda Legal will right this wrong. Lambda Legal had been spearheading this case since 2007.

Miller-Jenkins v. Miller-Jenkins Affirming Interstate Visitation Rights for LGBT Parents
As a result of our legal team’s years of work together with GLAD, the ACLU of Virginia and local counsel in Vermont, our client Janice Jenkins regained visitation rights to see her daughter. Jenkins, a lesbian mother, was seeking to maintain her legal relationship to the daughter that she and her former partner had after they secured a civil union in Vermont. Once the couple separated, the former partner moved with the daughter to Virginia and tried to use an anti-gay Virginia State law to avoid enforcement of a visitation order from Vermont and to declare herself the child’s sole legal parent. We continue to fight for the principle that lesbian and gay parents must be treated like other parents when courts evaluate the best interest of the child in custody and visitation cases. The Alliance Defense Fund is seeking – for the fifth time – review of this matter by the Supreme Court. The former partner has now kidnapped the child and her whereabouts are not known.

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WORKPLACE FAIRNESS
Gill v. Devlin Fighting Workplace Discrimination on Behalf of a Public Employee
In a new lawsuit, we have filed a case in the federal court of Northern Texas representing a lesbian who was denied the opportunity to interview for a full-time position at a community college after being told by her department chair that the “school is a conservative institution that does not like homosexuals.” All other adjunct faculty members in her same position who applied were hired; yet our client was denied the opportunity even to have her application considered. This public employee discrimination case presents opportunities to advance the Obama Administration’s position that sexual orientation discrimination should be given heightened scrutiny, and to highlight employment discrimination issues in Texas and other states in the South.

Glenn v. Brumby Preserving a Landmark Victory: Federal Court Protects Transgender State Employees
We continue to defend an appeal of a federal court victory we achieved in which our plaintiff, Vandy Beth Glenn, was found to have been unconstitutionally discriminated against based on her supervisor’s perception that she failed to conform to gender stereotypes about how men and women should dress. Vandy Beth Glenn is a transgender woman who was fired from her job as Legislative Editor of the Georgia General Assembly after she told her supervisor that she planned to transition from male to female. The decision has been appealed by the defendant. This ruling was a major victory for all transgender people across the country, but the fact that this discrimination occurred in the first place and was defended in court by the state highlights the need for a clear provision in federal law prohibiting gender identity discrimination.

Continuing to Speak Up For Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Service Members
Despite repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (“DADT”) through the DADT Repeal Act of 2010, the government has not yet shown it has taken sufficient steps to address the widespread and lasting harm that DADT inflicts upon previously discharged service members. We continue to provide assistance in advocating to the courts and in educating the public to remedy this problem. In Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, in which the government is appealing a lower court ruling that deemed DADT unconstitutional and ordered an end to its enforcement, we wrote and led the submission of a brief on behalf of a coalition of LGBT rights organizations, arguing that the case is not moot.

Making the Case for Federal Employment Protections
Lambda Legal continues to work toward passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (“ENDA”), which was reintroduced to Congress in March 2011. We currently have four staff attorneys monitoring the progress of ENDA and working with other LGBT rights organizations to prevent negative amendments from being added to the bill, and have helped gather examples of employees who suffered sexual orientation or gender identity and expression workplace discrimination. In the absence of ENDA, Lambda Legal has focused on bringing and supporting litigation that seeks to strengthen state and local sexual orientation and gender identity antidiscrimination legal protections, as well as federal protections from sex discrimination. Upon passage of ENDA, Lambda Legal is committed to launching a national campaign to enforce ENDA and educate community members, the general public, and attorneys about the protections it offers.

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HIV RIGHTS
Roe v. City of Atlanta Led to Fannie Mae Policy Change Benefiting Thousands of LGBT Homeowners
We have agreed to become lead counsel in the appeal of the Roe v. City of Atlanta case, which we have been assisting with behind the scenes for several years. This is an employment discrimination case brought by a former police officer living with HIV who was terminated based on concerns that he might transmit the disease on the job. The trial judge ruled against our plaintiff, saying he failed to demonstrate that he did not pose a direct threat of transmitting HIV to people with whom he came in contact. Our appeal challenges this ruling and also asserts that the city violated several existing federal disability discrimination laws because they unlawfully subjected the plaintiff to a pre-employment medical exam before extending a conditional offer of employment to him.

Franke v. Parkstone Living Center, Inc. Victory! Fighting HIV Discrimination in Long-Term Care
Lambda Legal successfully settled a case in which we represented a 75–year–old retired minister, Rev. Frank, who was evicted from an assisted living facility in Arkansas when officials discovered he was HIV-positive. Discrimination against people living with HIV who seek access to elder care occurs throughout the country and is a growing concern as more people with HIV survive into their senior years. We took on this case to protect Rev. Franke and to challenge the outdated and misguided beliefs about HIV transmission that often lead to discrimination against people with HIV by nursing homes and assisted living facilities. We also told Rev. Franke’s story to educate the public and long-term care providers about the discrimination these seniors often face.

Rose v. Cahee Victory! Defending the Right to Medical Care for People with HIV in Prisons
Lambda Legal and AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) successfully resolved a federal lawsuit in which an incarcerated Wisconsin woman was denied necessary surgery because she has HIV. The lawsuit alleged that those who were asked to provide health care to the woman violated both federal and state law by refusing to do so because of her HIV status. Access to health care for people living with HIV remains a serious problem. Our public education and advocacy work surrounding this case has helped send a clear message to health care providers: there is no free pass to discriminate based on unfounded fears regarding the transmission of HIV. the child and her whereabouts are not known.

Helping to Repeal State-Based HIV-Criminalization Laws
in conjunction with the Positive Justice Project, Lambda Legal has been working to reform and/or repeal laws that criminalize conduct merely because a person is living with HIV, as well as laws that enhance penalties for criminal conduct because of a person’s HIV status. The existence of these laws has an impact on human rights and public health in the United States by further stigmatizing people living with HIV and discouraging people at risk from seeking necessary care and getting tested. As a part of this work, we have advocated with the Centers for Disease Control, spoken at Congressional briefings on HIV criminalization, and are currently helping to draft federal legislation that will give states incentives to reform or repeal their own HIV criminalization laws. This legislation is scheduled to be introduced to Congress in fall 2011 by Representative Barbara Lee. We have also produced a document, Unjust, Unjustified and Unacceptable, outlining all states in the U.S. with HIV-related statutes or laws, and the number of HIV-related persecutions recorded in each state.

Educating Lawmakers and Advocates on HIV Stigma and Discrimination
At the end of 2010, Lambda Legal released an evidence-based report, HIV Stigma and Discrimination in the U.S., concluding that 30 years into the HIV epidemic, ignorance about HIV transmission and discrimination against people living with HIV remains a serious problem—marginalizing people and creating added barriers to treatment and care. This report shows an increase in the number of people who have misconceptions about HIV transmission, with a growing number of people falsely assuming HIV transmission can occur from sharing a toilet seat or drinking glass, or having food prepared by someone with HIV. Furthermore, there continue to be a steady flow of lawsuits filed by people rejected form various institutions because of their HIV status, such as summer camps, hotel resorts, or nursing homes. Our Winter 2011 issue of Impact magazine also featured stories about the 30 year battle against AIDS and Lambda Legal’s history of work fighting discrimination.

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HEALTH CARE FAIRNESS
HHS Implements Federal LGBT Inclusive Regulations for Hospitals Historic Milestone!
In January 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) implemented the first round of national policy changes allowing equal visitation rights and other policy protections for LGBT people and their family members. These new regulations require hospitals receiving federal funding to establish written policies and procedures regarding patients’ visitation rights. The policy also prohibits discrimination against visitors based on race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. Lambda Legal provided extensive suggestions and feedback to HHS during the drafting of these new regulations. In addition, we worked with other LGBT organizations to draft a set of recommendations encouraging HHS to provide guidance that would adequately address the LGBT community’s needs around medical decisionmaking in the absence of an Advance Directive. These policy changes were the result of an executive memo issued by President Obama after he read about our client, Janice Langbehn, who was denied access to the hospital bedside of her dying partner. After releasing this memo, President Obama called Janice from Air Force One to tell her about the memo and express his sympathy for how she and her family were treated by the hospital. Thanks to Janice, hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples and their families across the country will be provided with the respect she and her family were not given. Lambda Legal will monitor where hospitals are not complying with new regulations to assess legal remedies and areas where these policies can be strengthened. In addition, Lambda Legal participates in a LGBT working group on federal health care policy convened by the Task Force. We have continued our work with HHS to improve the treatment of LGBT people in hospitals by encouraging health professionals to participate in LGBT cultural competency curricula. In April 2011, HHS announced this will be included in its series of actions to address treatment of LGBT patients.

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TRANSGENDER RIGHTS
Esquivel v. Oregon Equal Insurance Coverage for Transgender State Employees Homeowners
In June of 2011, Lambda Legal filed a case on behalf of Alec Esquivel who was denied health care coverage for a medically necessary procedure specifically because he is transgender. Alec was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (“GID”) and began to take steps to have his body match his male gender identity. As part of his transition-related health plan, Alec sought insurance coverage for a hysterectomy, a procedure that routinely is covered for other employees under the state’s health plan. However, Alec was denied a request for insurance coverage based on the plan’s categorical exclusion of transition-related health care—a direct violation of Oregon’s antidiscrimination guarantees. Lambda Legal’s lawsuit argues that denying a public employee the same coverage that others receive because of the employee’s gender identity violates Oregon’s Equality Act and its guarantees of equal treatment in the workplace regardless of gender identity.

Glenn v. Brumby Preserving a Landmark Victory: Federal Court Protects Transgender State Employees
See Workplace Fairness

Fields v. Smith Victory! Equal Medical Treatment for Transgender People in State Prison
Thanks to the hard work of Lambda Legal, ACLU, and local cooperating attorneys, we successfully struck down the so-called “Inmate Sex Change Prevention Act” of Wisconsin that prevented prison doctors from providing hormone therapy to transgender inmates—even inmates who had been receiving hormone therapy for years beforehand. We originally filed a lawsuit in 2006 after the Wisconsin legislature enacted a discriminatory law that cruelly singled out transgender people by denying them—and only them—the medical care they need. We argued the law violated the federal Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection as well as the guarantees against cruel and unusual punishment in denying needed medical treatment to transgender prisoners. Too often the medical needs of transgender persons are not treated as serious health issues. We concur with the court ruling that states, “Refusing to provide effective treatment for a serious medical condition serves no valid purpose and amounts to torture.”

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LGBTQ YOUTH AND SCHOOLS
Strengthening the Voices of LGBTQ Students Across the Nation
We continue to provide assistance to students as the legal partner in the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network’s (“GLSEN”) National Day of Silence. Surrounding the 2011 Day of Silence, we received 100 complaints from 75 students at schools across the country that attempted to prevent students from participating. We provided advice and resources, issued 22 demand letters informing schools they are required by federal law to allow students to participate and warning them of further legal action if they did not comply. Several administrators reversed their decisions and let students participate. We are assessing legal options in situations where no changes were made.

Logan v. Gary Community School Corporation Victory! Settlement Yields Safer School District and Gender-Respecting Policies
In January of 2011, Lambda Legal successfully settled a case against Gary Community School Corporation of Indiana that included revisions to the school district’s dress code and non-discrimination policies such that both policies now include specific protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students. The school district also agreed to conduct training for the administration and school board members on LGBT issues and respectful treatment of LGBT people. In this case K.K. Logan, a transgender student who presents as female but was assigned the sex designation of male at birth, attended West Side High School in Gary, Ind., during her junior and senior year. When Logan attended the prom wearing a dress in 2007, she was literally blocked by the principal from entering the banquet center where the prom was held. Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of Logan, arguing that the school violated her First Amendment rights, including the freedoms of speech, symbolic action and expressive conduct.

Supporting Federal Protections for LGBTQ Students and Allies in the Midst of a Bullying Epidemic
To help create more protections for LGBT students in schools, we worked with our coalition partners to help re-introduce the federal Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) after the 2010 version failed to move forward. Without specific protections under federal law, LGBTQ students have long been at a significant disadvantage. All students have a right to a safe learning environment and this law will mandate that public schools have a specific responsibility to provide that with regard to students targeted based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Lambda Legal’s attorneys used their extensive experience litigating against school-related LGBTQ harassment to help draft the bill’s language. In addition, we have asked former clients to help educate Congress on the importance of SNDA.

Freedom of Speech and Expression for LGBTQ and Allied Students
The U.S. Department of Education released a guidance letter to school districts across the country making it clear that gay-straight alliances (“GSAs”) must be allowed to form on an equal basis with other student groups and should receive the same resources. This letter came on the heels of meetings that we, along with our sister legal rights organizations, held with Department of Justice officials concerning the rights of LGBT students – as well as testimony we provided at a Congressional briefing in which we noted persistent violations of the clear mandates of the Equal Access Act. Even before 2000, when we won Colín v. Orange Unified School District, which marked the first time a school was ordered under the Equal Access Act to allow a gay-straight alliance to meet on campus, Lambda Legal honed (created? Forged? Articulated?) arguments that federal law is clear that public schools with clubs must allow GSAs to form on equal terms.

Ithaca City School District v. New York State Division of Human Rights Victory! Human Rights for All Students
Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of itself and many other human rights organizations in support of an African-American middle school student who was subjected to repeated racial harassment. The school district argued that the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) did not apply to it as a public school. This is an important case for Lambda Legal and for all civil rights organizations, because the NYSHRL explicitly requires schools to protect students against harassment as well as other forms of discrimination, and ensures an accessible and inexpensive forum for protecting the rights of the vast majority of students in New York State who attend public schools.

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Ensuring Safe and Affirming Resources for LGBTQ Students
Lambda Legal filed friend-of-the-court briefs in two separate cases in which future school counselors claimed their first amendments rights were violated when their respective graduate programs reprimanded them for refusing to counsel LGBTQ clients and/or expressing intent to engage in harmful professional practices. In one case a student of Michigan University’s masters program for school counseling refused to counsel an assigned client who identified himself as gay, saying she would not “affirm his lifestyle.” In the second case a student of Augusta State University repeatedly expressed a desire to avoid LGBTQ students altogether or to subject them to dangerous conversion therapy. These actions are a direct violation of the American Counseling Association’s code of ethics, a code to which both individuals agreed to adhere when they entered their respective masters programs. LGBT students, compared to any other minority group, are more likely to feel unsafe in school and school counselors can profoundly affect an LGBTQ youth’s mental health. When LGBTQ youth are being bullied or thinking about committing suicide, we want them to be speaking with trained counselors who will help, not harm them.

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LGBT YOUTH IN OUT-OF-HOME-CARE
Making Out-of-Home Care for LGBTQ Youth a Federal Issue
Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out of Home Care Project (“YOHCP”) coordinated a meeting between the federal Administration for Children and Families (“ACF”) and representatives from leading child welfare and LGBT groups to discuss proposals for how ACF can help promote the well-being of LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system. ACF agreed to use Lambda Legal and other child welfare allies as a resource to review proposed LGBT initiatives and materials as ACF carries this work forward. In addition, we submitted LGBT-specific language to ACF for the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act. Our recommendations were accepted and were also incorporated into the Innovative Approaches to Foster Care Grants program and the Street Outreach and Basic Center Grants program. We are now preparing Federal Best Practice Guidelines to clarify what it means to provide for the safety and well-being of LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care systems.

Catholic Charities et al. v. Illinois et al. Preventing State Funding of Discriminatory Child Welfare Agencies
Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief representing the interests of national and state-based child welfare organization in a lawsuit brought by Catholic Charities against the State of Illinois. In this case, the Dioceses seek state funding of their foster care services even though they will not follow state law by refusing to license couples in civil unions as foster parents, claiming they are exempt from state nondiscrimination requirements on religious grounds. The court ruled against them and upheld the right of the state to deny them funding. To allow these Dioceses to exclude an entire class of people as potential foster parents would violate Illinois and federal law and deny many Illinois children their best opportunity for a better life. Allowing the Dioceses to exclude couples would also send a message of exclusion to LGBTQ youth in state care, who are particularly vulnerable. LGBTQ adolescents are disproportionately represented in foster care populations because they often experience rejection by their own families. If the Dioceses continued to receive state funding under these circumstances, these children would be told by the authorities caring for them and by their government that they are morally unworthy ever of forming families of their own and that their future relationships in adulthood - no matter how loving, how committed, or how responsible - will be inferior to those in other families.

L.P. v. City of Philadelphia Victory! Creating One More Safe Space for Transgender Youth in Philadelphia
As a result of a discrimination complaint filed on behalf of a now 18-year old transgender woman who was physically attacked by other residents and verbally abused by staff of a Philadelphia youth dentition facility, we have ensured Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services (“DHS”) and the Youth Study Center (“YSC”) will adopt new policies and training to ensure transgender youth under their care are safe and will not be discriminated against because of who they are. New YSC non-discrimination policies will include specific protections for transgender youth. Furthermore, accommodations will be made to fit with the youths’ preferred gender identity, such as being housed in a unit that corresponds to their gender identity, identified by their preferred name and the pronoun that reflects the youth’s gender identity, and provided with clothing and grooming options throughout their stay at the facility. DHS will also provide training for all YSC agents, providers and staff on LGBT issues and respectful treatment of LGBT youth. We hope to use this work to press for other juvenile justice systems in the state and across the country to proactively implement LGBT policies to prevent discrimination and the mistreatment of their LGBTQ youth.

Improving the Treatment of LGBTQ Youth in New York Legal Advocacy
Lambda Legal successfully advocated on behalf of a gay young boy within the custody of New York State Office of Children and Family Services’ (“OCFS”) facility who was being harassed by other residents. Our intervention resulted in sweeping improvements: The young people who harassed and threatened the gay boy were finally transferred out of the facility where the boy is housed. Facility staff and department officials understood the importance of taking LGBT harassment issues as serious matters.

Policy
We have been working with several New York City LGBTQ youth advocates to have the New York City Administration of Children Services adopt LGBT policies and guidelines. In July 2011 ACS issued two groundbreaking polices that provide guidance to both foster care and juvenile justice staff on how to better serve LGBT youth in their care.

Education and Training
In Spring 2011, Lambda Legal continued its ongoing training initiative with the National Association of Social Workers (“NASW”) to conduct six full-day LGBTQ sensitivity trainings for employees of New York City’s Department of Youth and Family Justice. Over thirty employees representing several different sectors and managerial levels of the department have already been trained.

www.lambdalegal.org

Educating America’s Youth Practitioners on the Unique Needs of LGBTQ Youth-in-Care
Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project assisted the NASW with a national Train-the-Trainer initiative to train over 1,600 child welfare practitioners to competently address the needs of LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care, such as juvenile detention centers, foster care systems and homeless shelters. In just one example of this ongoing training, in May 2011 Lambda Legal staff held a training session for Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Orleans. At this day-long training, over 28 individuals were provided with tools on how they can conduct trainings for child welfare practitioners on building capacity, awareness and skills to better serve and respond to the needs of LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care.

www.lambdalegal.org

GOVERNMENT MISCONDUCT
Calhoun v. Pennington Victory! Protecting LGBT Citizens From Unfair Police Conduct Through Policy Reform and Trainings
In December 2010 we secured a settlement in our case against the Atlanta Police Department (APD) requiring the Department to rewrite unconstitutional policies regarding arrest, search and seizure, and make other changes to protect the public from police misconduct. We originally filed this suit, together with local co-counsel, in 2009 after officers from the APD raided the Atlanta Eagle bar—a bar frequented by gay men— and illegally detained and searched every patron, yet not a single patron was charged with a crime. Our civil rights lawsuit on behalf of the bar owner and patrons against the City of Atlanta, the Chief of Police of the APD and dozens of individual officers, claimed violations of both the U.S. and Georgia constitutions as well as Georgia state law. We have monitored APD actions to ensure that the terms of the settlement were complied with (including new training, policy changes and conducting a thorough investigation of each officer’s actions and the events leading up to the raid). We participated in the required investigation to ensure transparency, expose wrong-doing, and ensure that no other law-abiding citizen is similarly treated. The investigation confirmed that Atlanta police officers broke the law during the raid, and found 24 officers guilty of false imprisonment. Ten officers were found to have lied about their actions, ten officers were found to have illegally destroyed evidence in our federal lawsuit, and several APD senior commanders were held responsible. Lambda Legal has initiated community education efforts to ensure that people in Atlanta know their rights when dealing with the police, and has attended city council meetings and meetings of community organizations that work on issues of police accountability.

Demanding Equal Justice for LGBTQ Victims of Violent and Hate-Based Attacks in New York
Just days after New York witnessed hundreds of same-sex couples get married in July 2011, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who was violently assaulted at a Sizzler restaurant in Queens, New York, because she did not conform to stereotypes of how a woman should look or act. Our client was violently shoved and kicked by the restaurant’s manager after being accused of not paying, and was called a “dyke.” The restaurant quickly devolved into a threatening scene when patrons began terrorizing our client, screaming at her, spewing homophobic and hate-filled epithets. In our lawsuit we claim the Queens-based Sizzler violated the New York City and State Civil and Human Rights Laws because our client was violently attacked and discriminated against based on her actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and sex in a place of public accommodation. This case is the first test of the newly enacted bias crime law passed in August 2010 to hold individuals accountable for anti-LGBT violence and intimidation. Furthermore, this case will help shine a spotlight on the misguided actions of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) during this incident. The NYPD officers who responded in this matter refused to arrest the perpetrators. They additionally belittled our client and did not document the incident as a hate crime.

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PROYECTO IGUALDAD
Advocating to End the Mistreatment of LGBT and HIV-Affected Immigrant Detainees
We have partnered with over 15 different LGBT, HIV and Immigrant Rights organizations to urge the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to protect and uphold the rights of LGBT and HIV-affected immigrants in immigration detention centers. In a letter that Lambda Legal drafted and submitted to DHS, we point out several systemic problems in immigrant detention facilities across the country that begin with not knowing where and how to house LGBT individuals. The advocacy letter also explains that LGBT individuals are being segregated and placed in solitary confinement and that transgender people are not assigned to housing in accordance with their gender identity. They are denied medically necessary treatments like those for gender identity disorder, including access to hormone treatment for transgender individuals. Immigrants with HIV also continue to unnecessarily suffer - and even die - while in immigration detention because facilities fail to meet standards for the treatment of HIV in correctional settings. Lambda Legal urged DHS to create and implement protocols to prevent LGBT civil rights abuses. As a result of our advocacy work, we were invited to present at a Congressional Briefing on immigration detention conditions, and to participate in a Listening Session on LGBT issues held by DHS. We continue to closely monitor efforts by DHS and other federal agencies to remedy the treatment of LGBT and HIV-affected immigrants.

Speaking Out Against Anti-Immigration Policies
In response to Arizona’s anti-immigrant measure S.B. 1070, Lambda Legal issued a press statement speaking out against the racial profiling that this law will lead to, and noted that the same Arizona governor who signed the bill also tried to revoke health insurance benefits from state employees’ domestic partners. We also joined coalition efforts to educate citizens of Georgia on the harm a similar law could cause in their state, when the bill HB 87 was being considered there. We are using our leadership role in the LGBT community to highlight the fact that antiimmigration laws disproportionately impact undocumented LGBT immigrants who are among the most invisible of an already marginalized group. Many undocumented LGBT immigrants inhabit a “double closet;” afraid of disclosing their sexual orientation and/or gender identity as well as their undocumented status. In addition, LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants who are victims of hate crimes or discrimination are often deterred from seeking justice, fear of arrest or deportation, thus further marginalizing them and hampering Lambda Legal’s ability to make the case for equality.

Castro-Martinez v. Holder Helping set Protective Precedent for LGBTQ Immigrants Seeking Asylum
Lambda Legal, along with several other immigrants’ rights, civil rights, and LGBT groups, submitted critical legal advocacy asking a federal court to rehear an appeal denying asylum to a gay man from Mexico because the original decision improperly imposed obstacles to asylum that would wrongly deny relief to a large number of LGBT people subjected to persecution in other countries.

Strengthening Lambda Legal’s Connection to Mainstream Organizations
Proyecto Igualdad continually spearheads efforts to partner with non-LGBT legal and civil rights organizations serving Latino populations. This work includes continuing our ongoing partnership with the Hispanic National Bar Association (“HNBA”), and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (“MALDEF”), as well as working to form new relationships with other national Latino associations, such as National Council of La Raza, National Latino Congreso, and National Association of Latin American and Caribbean Community Centers. Most recently, Proyecto worked with the leadership of HNBA’s LGBT section to provide oral and written testimony for the hearings of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities. As result of our involvement, these hearings included testimony on LGBT rural communities as well as family acceptance of LGBT Latinos and LGBT Latino youth as well as testimony on Puerto Rico’s LGBT community, HIV and AIDS and transgender issues their sexual orientation and/or gender identity as well as their undocumented status. In addition, LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants who are victims of hate crimes or discrimination are often deterred from seeking justice, fear of arrest or deportation, thus further marginalizing them and hampering Lambda Legal’s ability to make the case for equality. Most recently, Proyecto worked with the leadership of HNBA’s LGBT section to provide oral and written testimony for the hearings of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities. As result of our involvement, these hearings included testimony on LGBT rural communities as well as family acceptance of LGBT Latinos and LGBT Latino youth as well as testimony on Puerto Rico’s LGBT community, HIV and AIDS and transgender issues.

www.lambdalegal.org

FAIR COURTS PROJECT
Acting as a National Voice for Fair and Impartial Courts
Lambda Legal continues to educate the public about the proper role of the judiciary in America’s democratic system of checks and balances, the importance of fair and impartial courts, and the need for people across the nation to take action to support judicial fairness. In the past several years there has been a coordinated effort to diminish the role of a fair and impartial judiciary by blocking moderate and progressive nominees, supporting legislation to strip courts of their power, and attacking judges who rule in favor of equality for LGBT people. Lambda Legal is working to ensure that the LGBT community plays a significant and effective role in national and state-based discussions surrounding these vital issues.

Diversity on the Bench—Openly LGBT Judges
Lambda Legal’s Fair Courts Project has taken a leadership role in representing the LGBT community on a long-term task force with the goal of increasing diversity on the bench in select jurisdictions over the next five years. We have provided insight as to why increasing the number of openly LGBT judges on the bench improves the quality of the judiciary and provided recommendations on how to incorporate this discussion into the broader goal to increase diversity on the bench.

Helping to Educate Spanish-Language Communities on the Importance of Judicial Independence
Lambda Legal published and distributed a Spanish-language version of our Fair Courts toolkit, Vivan los tribunals justos!, in collaboration with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (“MALDEF”). The translated and improved publication features new information on the immigration court system and cases of potential relevance to Spanish-speaking communities. MALDEF took the lead in distributing the toolkit to its membership and partners, and we have helped in its distribution as well.

Focusing Public Attention on Attacks Against the Courts
Lambda Legal’s Fair Courts Project partnered with Demos, a non-LGBT think tank, and asked The American Prospect magazine to produce a special report called “Justice for Sale.” The report includes a lengthy article about the ideological attacks against the justices of the Iowa Supreme Court following the unanimous decision in favor of marriage equality in Lambda Legal’s case Varnum v. Brien.

www.lambdalegal.org

LAMBDA LEGAL HELP DESK
Acting as a National Legal Resource
In the past year, Lambda Legal responded to a total of 6,300 calls to our free legal Help Desks across the country. The purpose of our Help Desk is to provide LGBT and HIV-affected people with the tools they need to advocate for their rights and end discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and HIV-status. We provide services in English and Spanish.

LAMBDA LEGAL 2010 HELP DESK

25%
OF HELP DESK CALLERS FOUND US THROUGH THE INTERNET

17% WORKPLACE 12% RELATIONSHIPS 9% PARENTS & CHILDREN 5% CRIMINAL/PRISONS/ CRIMINALIZATION OF HIV 5% HARASSMENT 4% HOUSING/PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION 4% IMMIGRATION 3% YOUTH/SCHOOLS 2% IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS 1% HIV CONFIDENTIALITY 1% INSURANCE 33% GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT LGBT AND HIVRELATED RIGHTS

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