Lambda Legal Cites New York Marriage Equality, End of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Among Highlights of 2011

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"State of the Law 2011" also underscores progress on transgender rights, family protections, civil unions, and challenges to DOMA
December 12, 2011
Kevin M. Cathcart

"2011 was another momentous year of progress for LGBT rights and the rights of those living with HIV."

(New York, December 12, 2011) - Lambda Legal today released "State of the Law 2011," its annual wrap-up of progress in LGBT rights and tip sheet of what is likely to come in 2012.

The report: State of the Law 2011, is available at :

Highlights for the year include: Passage of marriage equality legislation in New York, the sixth state - plus the District of Columbia - to allow same-sex couples to legally marry; the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT), allowing LGB individuals to serve openly in the military; and the determination by the Obama administration that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional and would no longer be defended by the Administration in court.

"2011 was another momentous year of progress for LGBT rights and the rights of those living with HIV," Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart said. "Not only do we justly celebrate marriage equality in New York, the end of DADT and the continuing progress in overturning DOMA, but we also saw important strides in securing equal protections for transgender individuals in four more states, four more states that enacted civil union statutes, federal hospital guidelines that were implemented assuring visitation rights for same-sex couples, and increased focus on protecting LGBT students in schools."

"Significant challenges remain," Cathcart added. "Our country still lacks a federal law making clear that workplace discrimination against LGBT people is illegal, and while a total of 19 states plus the District of Columbia now recognize marriage equality or include in state law some form of legal protection for same-sex couples, 31 states do not. While deportation proceedings of immigrants in formalized same-sex relationships can be placed on hold pending the fate of DOMA, bi-national same-sex couples face great uncertainty. So, too, do LGBT individuals fighting to maintain parental rights, and same-sex couples seeking to secure accurate birth certificates for their children. The list goes on - we have a lot of work to do to secure equality for LGBT people and those living with HIV."

As for what to watch in 2012, the report notes: several lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of DOMA; marriage equality litigation in New Jersey; the continuing battle in California over Prop. 8; marriage equality ballot initiatives or legislative efforts in Maryland, Maine and Washington; discriminatory ballot measures in Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana and North Carolina; efforts to secure equal employment and health care rights for transgender people; efforts to preserve fair and impartial courts, both state and federal; and continued advocacy on behalf of LGBT youth.

The report: State of the Law 2011, is available at :