Lambda Legal Mourns the Death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam

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April 12, 2017
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Photo by: nycourts.gov

The death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman and Muslim to serve on New York’s highest court, has been reported by news outlets this evening.

Judge Abdus-Salaam’s death is a tragic loss for all of New York, and our hearts go out to all who knew her. Just last August, Judge Abdus-Salaam wrote the ground-breaking decision in Lambda Legal’s case that cleared the way for LGBT parents and other parents with no biological ties to seek parenting rights to their children on equal footing with biological parents.

Judge Abdus-Salaam saw clearly how damaging it was to keep LGBT parents from their children. We owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude. She touched the lives of many New Yorkers; her legacy will live on.

Writing for the majority, Judge Abdus-Salaam said:

“[T]oday, we overrule Alison D. and hold that where a partner shows by clear and convincing evidence that the parties agreed to conceive a child and to raise the child together, the non-biological, non-adoptive partner has standing to seek visitation and custody under” New York’s Domestic Relations Law.