LGBT Hero: Lambda Legal
Lambda Legal pursues impact litigation, education and advocacy to make the case for equality in state and federal court, all the way up to the Supreme Court, and in the court of public opinion.
At Lambda Legal, we imagine a different world -- a world of full equality for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people living with HIV -- and we work to create that world every day. We pursue impact litigation, education and advocacy to make the case for equality in state and federal court, all the way up to the Supreme Court, and in the court of public opinion.
The work Lambda Legal does has impact on the way we all live -- we change laws, policies and ideas. From our national headquarters in New York and four regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles, our legal and public education experts select the cases and issues that will have the greatest impact in protecting and advancing the rights of LGBT people and those with HIV.
Our legal and educational work touches nearly every aspect of people's lives. We win legal victories for clients who seek equality on the job, protection for their parenting or relationship rights, equal access to health care and protection against discrimination because of HIV status, sexual orientation or gender identity. We also represent clients in cases involving immigration, military service, the rights of students in school and the rights of LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care.
Started by a handful of lawyers in 1973, Lambda Legal has expanded to a staff of more than 100 people and a docket of approximately 65 active matters every year.
In 2003, we won a landmark victory at the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the nation's remaining "sodomy" laws -- laws that branded lesbians and gay men as criminals and were used to rationalize anti-LGBT discrimination in housing, employment, parenting and many other areas of life. This was the most sweeping statement by the Supreme Court about the rights of LGBT people under the U.S. Constitution and opened the door for a new era of advocacy for equality.
In 2006, Lambda Legal won another historic victory when the Supreme Court of New Jersey unanimously ruled that same-sex couples must be provided all the benefits and responsibilities of marriage under that state's constitution.
Some of our current cases include:
* Fighting on behalf of a Texas woman whose job offer was withdrawn after her employer realized she is transgender, and accused her of "misrepresenting" her sex.
* Advocating for marriage equality for same-sex couples in cases pending in California and Iowa.
* Challenging the Department of State's blanket policy of rejecting HIV-positive applicants to the U.S. Foreign Service on behalf of two well-qualified individuals.
* Defending a lesbian mother's right to visit her child after her former civil union partner took the child from Vermont to Virginia, attempting to use Virginia's anti-LGBT constitutional amendment to deny our client her parenting rights.
* Holding schools accountable in California and New Jersey for failing to protect LGBTQ students who face harassment in the hallways.
We also provide resources to our communities through our Lambda Legal Help Desks. In 2006, our Help Desks fielded more than 5,200 calls from LGBT people, people living with HIV and allies. Our Help Desk specialists (who are bilingual in Spanish) provide resources to people when they need it most. People call for information about the law and how to find a lawyer in our cooperating attorney network, and a small number of callers become plaintiffs in our high-impact cases. While our casework shifts the legal landscape, our Help Desk calls provide a direct link to our communities -- and show how our work is having an impact on people's lives. If you have questions about your rights or need help, call the Lambda Legal office in your region and ask for the Help Desk www.lambdalegal.org/help) or call toll-free, (866) 542-8336.
Lambda Legal is making an impact on the lives of LGBT people and people with HIV by amplifying all our voices. We are making the case for equality in courtrooms and communities across the nation and invoking the principles of democracy in our search for greater freedom.
But we can't do it alone. Our work is supported by donations from people, foundations, corporations and organizations across the country -- the majority of our funding comes from individual supporters. Your contribution, large or small, helps us make the case for equality. Join Lambda Legal today -- www.lambdalegal.org/join.
Visit our Web site at www.lambdalegal.org to find out more about Lambda Legal's impact litigation and public education work, and stay up to date on LGBT and HIV-related civil rights.