2013 brought amazing advances for LGBT rights across the country. While victories in marriage equality dominated the headlines this year, some exciting legislative and policy changes happened to protect the rights of LGBTQ youth and, in particular, youth in homeless, juvenile justice and foster care systems.
“Religious refusals” of goods or services are, sadly, not a new problem for LGBT people and those living with HIV. But some who see LGBT progress as a threat are more determined than ever to make the liberty intended as a shield for worship and belief into a sword against others.
On Friday, a Federal District Court judge held Utah’s marriage ban unconstitutional. Today, that same judge denied a request from the state to stay the decision pending an appeal. This is not the final word in this case or on marriage equality in Utah, but it’s an important sign of the amazing momentum we have built over the last decade toward full marriage equality throughout the nation.
A troubling case made headlines earlier this month when newspapers reported that a New York defense attorney tried to convince a judge in open court that his client, who was convicted of the brutal murder and robbery of a 29-year old transgender woman he met online, should receive a lighter sentence because the victim was a transgender sex worker.
At Lambda Legal, we have been talking a lot about momentum - the wave of energy that has carried us so far forward this year, and that has set the stage for the important work we are prepared to do in 2014.
In 2013, it became crystal clear just how critical our courts are in the fight to secure legal equality for LGBT people and those with HIV. Unfortunately, when courts rule on important civil rights issues, they often come under attack from individuals and groups — going beyond criticizing outcomes and legal arguments — seeking to intimidate judges and undermine the function of the court system.