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15 in 2015: Lambda Legal’s Year in Review

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December 26, 2015
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2015 was a historic year in the fight for equality for LGBT people and those living with HIV, and Lambda Legal led the fight in courts and communities across the country. Here are some of the highlights of Lambda Legal’s work this year:

Victory! Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court

Our Ohio marriage case was one of the six that the U.S. Supreme Court consolidated into Obergefell v. Hodges. The Court’s historic decision secured the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples throughout the entire United States. We launched an FAQ and the Marriage Tracker, an online reporting tool for same-sex couples. We fought to implement the Court’s ruling in Georgia, Louisiana, North Dakota and Puerto Rico.

Victory! Five for five at the U.S. Supreme Court

In addition to the historic marriage equality victory, Lambda Legal wrote or joined friend-of-the-court briefs in four other Supreme Court victories: upholding the Affordable Care Act (King v. Burwell), upholding “disparate impact” rules that make it easier to prove housing discrimination (Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project), upholding sensible campaign regulations for judicial candidates (Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar), and preserving a key feature of the federal employment law (Title VII) protecting employees against discrimination (EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch).

Victory! Social Security Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

We worked with the Social Security Administration to ensure that it will apply the Obergefell decision retroactively to grant spousal benefits.

Fighting the Backlash: Religious Exemption Laws

We redoubled our efforts to fight the enemies of equality who use religion as an excuse to discriminate against LGBT people in Arizona, Indiana, Texas and elsewhere.

Educating the Public: Know Your Rights

We launched the mobile-friendly resources Know Your Rights in Court and Know Your Rights: HIV, both in English and Spanish.

In Court: Rights for People Who Are Intersex

We sued the U.S. State Department on behalf of a Colorado intersex client, Dana Zzyym, who was denied a passport because they could not accurately choose either male or female on the application form.

In Court: Rights of Transgender People in Prison

We fought on behalf of our client Passion Star, a transgender woman who suffered rape and sexual abuse while in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. We petitioned Gov. Greg Abbott to implement the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act.

Victory! Tax Fairness for Same-Sex Couples

We won an important victory for Hal Birchfield, a gay Florida widower previously denied protections against certain tax increases for the home he had shared with his husband because Florida did not recognize his marriage at the time of his husband’s death.

In Court: Workplace Fairness for LGBT People

We represented Kimberly Hively, who worked for 14 years as an instructor at Chicago’s Ivy Tech Community College but was denied full-time employment and promotions, and eventually terminated, because she is a lesbian. We hailed a groundbreaking EEOC decision protecting lesbians and gay men from sex discrimination in employment.

In Court: Protecting Same-Sex Parents and Their Children

We sued in federal court to seek accurate birth certificates for the children of same-sex couples in Wisconsin.

In Court: HIV Rights

We filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Missouri client Clint Moore, who lost his position as a helicopter paramedic after he told management he had been diagnosed with HIV.

Victory! Immigrants’ Rights

We obtained asylum for a Mexican man living with HIV, on the grounds of the persecution he would experience in his country of origin, where he is likely to be perceived as gay.

In Court: Fairness in the Criminal Justice System

We joined a federal lawsuit against the City of New York and its Department of Corrections on behalf of Thomas Hamm after he was brutally attacked while visiting his partner at a men’s facility on Rikers Island.

Victory! LGBT Students’ Rights

We got a South Carolina high school to reverse its position on lesbian student Brianna Popour’s right to wear a T-shirt saying “Nobody Knows I’m a Lesbian.”

Earning the Support of Friends and Donors

Lambda Legal is so grateful that thousands of donors make financial contributions to support the work we do to secure equality and dignity for LGBT people and people living with HIV. Thank you.

Please join Lambda Legal today and help us continue the fight for equality in 2016! Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar by the $1.25 million matching challenge from the estate of John Barham and Dick Auer.