Lambda Legal Mobilizing LGBT Community in Opposition to the 'Nuclear Option' and Right-Wing Assault on Courts

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May 19, 2005

(New York, May 19, 2005) — Lambda Legal, as part of its wide-ranging new national campaign, “Courting Justice: Stand Up for Fair Courts – Protect Our Rights”, is mobilizing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and people with HIV to oppose the “nuclear option,” an effort by conservative Republicans to end the use of the Senate filibuster to stop extremist judicial nominees. A Senate showdown on the “nuclear option” is imminent.


The campaign is using e-mails, print ads and other tools to encourage Lambda’s 28,000 members and the broader LGBT community to become directly involved in efforts to fend off the nuclear option and the broader right-wing assault on the courts.


Today, in the latest step in the campaign, Lambda Legal launched a new online center for the “Courting Justice” campaign. The center, located on the Lambda Legal website at www.lambdalegal.org/courtingjustice, provides critical information about how to oppose the “nuclear option” and select judicial nominees, as well as important background information on the role of the courts in vindicating civil rights and current threats to that role.


“Fighting for fair courts is one of our top priorities right now – and the results of this battle will last a generation,” stated Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal. “If the “nuclear option” succeeds and the filibuster is lost, we lose one of the critical checks and balances that protects the civil rights of LGBT people and all minority communities.”


In addition to the online center, other elements of the “Courting Justice” campaign include:



  • Advocacy Advertising in the LGBT media to build community awareness and encourage action. The headline of the full-page Lambda Legal ad asks, “Opponents of equality will do anything to succeed. Will you do anything to stop them?”
  • Online Action Alerts that provide Lambda Legal’s 28,000 active members and the broader community with up to the minute information on emerging right-wing threats to the courts and ways to confront those threats.
  • Public opposition to select judicial nominees like William H. Pryor, who has been nominated to a seat on the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. In summarizing Pryor’s record, Lambda Legal has characterized him as “the most demonstrably anti-gay judicial nominee in recent memory” and pointed out that Pryor made comparisons between the rights of gay people and “prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia.” Lambda Legal has released a backgrounder on Pryor’s record and his nomination’s potential impact on LGBT people. Lambda Legal also opposes the nomination of Terrence Boyle to the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, citing a deeply troubling record on disability law that protects the rights of people with HIV.
  • Encouraging Lambda Legal supporters and community members to participate in direct action like People for the American Way’s “Nuclear Option” Mass Immediate Response, which will activate participants to contact their Senators on a moment’s notice

Lambda Legal, through its “Courting Justice” campaign, is working in close coordination with many other civil rights leaders, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, People for the American Way, Alliance for Justice, and the Human Rights Campaign.


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Contact Geoffrey Knox: 212-229-0540


Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work.

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Related Issues: Fair Courts Project

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