Political, Activism and Legal

Lambda Legal Brings Together 40 Other LGBT Orgs to Oppose Nomination of Gregory Katsas to Powerful D.C. Circuit

Washington, DC - November 20, 2017 – Today, Lambda Legal and 40 other national, state, and local LGBT organizations sent a letter to the United States Senate urging members to oppose the confirmation of Gregory Katsas to the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, citing his central role in the anti-civil rights efforts of the Donald Trump administration, including "morphing the trans military ban from tweet to policy," as well as his record outside the administration of "litigation seeking to dismantle legal protections for LGBT people," all of which together make it impossible for him to be viewed as a fair and impartial judge.
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Lambda Legal: Senate Judiciary Must Set New Hearing for Federal Bench Nominees Brett Talley and Thomas Farr

Washington, DC - November 17, 2017 – Today, Lambda Legal joined the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund in calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold additional hearings on two district court nominees: Brett Talley, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, and Thomas Farr, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Talley, who was already deemed "not qualified" to become a federal judge by the American Bar Association, has since made news for failing to disclose directly relevant information to the Committee. Farr appears to have misled the chamber about his role in a campaign to intimidate black voters, according to media reports. Both nominees should require new hearings on their nominations to lifetime appointments on the federal bench.
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State of California is Now a Plaintiff in Lawsuit Against Trump's Transgender Military Ban, as Court Grants Attorney Gen

Lambda Legal: America Deserves Better – Rather Than Attacking ABA, Senators Should Reject Unqualified Judicial Nominee

Washington, DC - November 15, 2017 – At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, the American Bar Association defended its unanimous rating of "Not Qualified" on Leonard Steven Grasz's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Prior to the Trump Administration, the ABA only issued two ratings that were unanimously not qualified since 1989, and those two nominees were not confirmed. Two of Trump's nominees have already received this non-partisan rating, including Grasz, while 49 of his 53 nominees have received a qualified or well qualified rating from the Association. Lambda Legal has opposed Grasz's nomination and demanded that his nomination be blocked.
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Victory Fund Endorses Nine Congressional Candidates; Wins Can Secure Pro-LGBTQ Majority in House

Lambda Legal: Don Willett Does Not Reflect the "Best of Texas"

Washington, DC - November 15, 2017 – Today, Lambda Legal continued standing up against Donald Trump's long line of dangerous nominees to the federal bench, specifically around a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning on the nomination of Don Willett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. This hearing comes on the heels of a letter sent to the entire committee yesterday, organized by Lambda Legal with 26 other national, state, and local LGBT groups to oppose Willett's nomination, citing his extreme anti-LGBT agenda and track record. In the letter, the groups also oppose to two other nominees to lifetime appointments on the federal bench: Stuart Kyle Duncan to the Fifth Circuit and Matthew Kacsmaryk to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
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National Report on Intimate Partner Violence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities

Civil Rights and Health Advocates Express Strong Concerns about HHS's Draft Strategic Plan

November 14, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updates its strategic plan every four years, and last month invited the public to comment on its draft plan for FY 2018–2022. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, members of our Health Care Task Force, and other stakeholders submitted comments to the agency with concerns about the draft plan and recommendations to ensure that the opportunity to access quality health care and live a healthy life is equally available to all.
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The Leadership Conference: Oppose the Confirmation of Don Willett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Victory Fund Endorses Three Gubernatorial Candidates; Potential to Triple LGBTQ Representation in 2018

Washington, DC - November 14, 2017 –  Today Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, endorsed three candidates in their races for governor – with the potential to triple the number of LGBTQ governors in the nation in 2018. The endorsees include Oregon Governor Kate Brown, the first openly LGBTQ elected governor in U.S. history who is up for reelection; Representative Jared Polis, who would become the first openly LGBTQ governor in Colorado; and Maryland state Senator Rich Madaleno, who would become the first openly LGBTQ governor in his state.
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Lambda Legal on the Front Lines This Week Opposing Trump's Extremely Dangerous Nominees to the Federal Bench

Washington, DC - November 14, 2017 – This week, Lambda Legal will be out front in its continued opposition to President Donald Trump's nominations for lifetime appointments on the federal bench. Lambda Legal's Director of Strategy, Sharon McGowan, will kick off the week of activities by speaking at a rally outside of the Capitol opposing the nomination of Jeff Mateer, a nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, whose hateful, anti-LGBT and anti-civil rights record notably includes his reference to transgender children as part of "Satan's plan."
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UN Member States Maintain Non-Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation in Olympic Truce Resolution

(New York - November 13, 2017) Today, all 193 United Nations Member States adopted the Olympic Truce Resolution maintaining language protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation. The resolution, which passed by consensus, included the contested reference to non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the Olympic Charter. The non-discrimination clause is housed in Principle 6 and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at the Olympic Games.
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California's Attorney General Seeks to Join Equality California in Suit Defending Transgender Members in the Military

LOS ANGELES - November 9, 2017 – Attorney General Xavier Becerra yesterday filed a motion to intervene as a party plaintiff in Stockman v. Trump, the suit fighting the transgender military ban. Filed on behalf of Equality California members and seven individual plaintiffs being harmed by the ban, Stockman v. Trump challenges the constitutionality of President Donald Trump's August 25 directive banning transgender people from enlisting or serving openly in the military.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Criticizes Senate Judiciary Committee Approval of Ideological, Inexperienced Nominees

WASHINGTON - November 9, 2017 – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee today voted, on a party-line basis, to advance the nominations of Gregory Katsas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Brett Talley to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama: "Despite rising opposition to President Trump's agenda across the country, Senate Republicans are continuing their rush to pack the courts with his extreme judicial nominees. Recognizing that they cannot deliver legislative victories, the Republican-led Senate is seeking to advance Trump's radical agenda by altering the makeup of the federal judiciary.
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HRC Scores Pennsylvania Companies' LGBTQ-Inclusive Workplace Policies in New Corporate Equality Index

WASHINGTON - November 9, 2017 - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announced a record number of the nation's major companies and law firms are advancing vital policies and practices to protect LGBTQ workers around the world, according to the 2018 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), an annual report assessing LGBTQ inclusion in major companies and law firms across the nation, including 44 in Pennsylvania.
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Lambda Legal: Senate Judiciary Republicans Moving Forward With Gregory Katsas' Nomination to Federal Bench

Washington, DC - November 9, 2017 – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to move forward with the nomination of Gregory Katsas to the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which is often described as the second most powerful court in the country behind the U.S. Supreme Court. Gregory Katsas is currently the Deputy White House Counsel for the Trump Administration – which has routinely attacked the LGBT community, all people living with HIV, and overall civil rights in this country. Lambda Legal today brought together 20 additional national, state, and local LGBT groups urging members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to stop this nomination. The nomination will now go to the full United States Senate for confirmation.
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Federal Court Hears Arguments in ACLU Challenge to Trump's Ban on Military Service by Transgender People

BALTIMORE - November 9, 2017 -The American Civil Liberties Union was in federal court today for a hearing in its lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's ban on military service by transgender individuals.
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Election Night Victories Expand LGBTQ Political Power; Trans Candidates Become Historic Firsts

Washington, DC - November 8, 2017 – While returns continue coming in, election results so far demonstrate LGBTQ political power is strengthening nationwide, and that transgender candidates are breaking down barriers like never before. 38 of 61 Victory Fund endorsed candidates won their elections, with four still undecided and one heading to a run-off – wins including historic victories by transgender candidates in school boards, city councils and the Virginia House of Delegates. Among the victorious candidates are Jenny Durkan, lesbian candidate for mayor of Seattle; Danica Roem, trans candidate for Virginia House of Delegates; and Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham, trans candidates for Minneapolis City Council. Throughout the election cycle Victory Fund raised more than $350 thousand for its endorsed candidates.
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NCLR, GLAD Attorneys Leading Fight Against Transgender Military Ban Celebrate Historic Vote for Danica Roem

WASHINGTON (November 7, 2017) – Tonight, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the legal advocates leading the fight against President Trump's transgender military ban, celebrated the historic victory of Danica Roem, the first openly transgender person to be elected to public office in Virginia. Roem was elected as a Delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates.
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Minneapolis Candidate Andrea Jenkins Becomes First Trans Woman to Win City Council Seat in Major U.S. City

Washington, DC - November 8, 2017 – Minneapolis made history Tuesday night – electing Andrea Jenkins the first openly trans woman ever elected to the city council of a major U.S. city. Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills released the following statement about the win: "Andrea Jenkins shattered a glass ceiling tonight – becoming the first out trans woman ever elected to the city council of a major U.S. city. Andrea ran on improving the lives of constituents in her ward, but the significance of her victory for the trans equality movement is undeniable. Americans are growing increasingly aware of trans equality and people, and this win will surely inspire other trans people to run for office and further inclusion in their communities."
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Jenny Durkan to Become First Out Lesbian Mayor of Seattle

Washington, DC – Victory Fund endorsed candidate Jenny Durkan is victorious tonight and will become the first out lesbian mayor of Seattle. Currently there is just one openly lesbian mayor of a major U.S. city (Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski). Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills released the following statement about the win: "We are thrilled Jenny will become the first lesbian mayor of Seattle – and just the second woman elected to the position," said Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills. "Both women and lesbians are severely underrepresented in all levels of government, especially executive positions. While Seattle voters chose Jenny because of her proven track record of leading innovative reforms and fighting for all communities, it is also an undeniably proud moment for the LGBTQ community, which continues to see this strong leader break down barriers."
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Lisa Middleton Wins Election to Palm Springs City Council

Los Angeles - November 8, 2017 – Palm Springs City Council Candidate Lisa Middleton will become the first out transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in California with her commanding first place win in today's election. Additionally, Palm Springs City Council Candidate Christy Holstege will become another LGBTQ voice on the Palm Springs City Council as the winner of the second open seat. Equality California endorsed both candidates and spent thousands of dollars in direct contributions, independent expenditures and member-to-member communications to help elect them.
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Athletic Stars Call on UN States to Protect Sexual Orientation in Olympic Truce

November 8, 2017 - Today, 17 professional athletes came out against attempts by Egypt and Russia to thwart non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation in the United Nations Olympic Truce Resolution. The letter, endorsed by respected athletes such as Billie Jean King, Greg Louganis and Martina Navratilova, is part of the #OlympicSpirit campaign spearheaded by OutRight Action International and Athlete Ally. It calls on countries to ensure that sexual orientation remains grounds of protection in the Olympic peace agreement.
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Tyler Titus Is First Trans Person Ever Elected in Pennsylvania

Washington, DC - November 7, 2017 – Tyler Titus won his race for the Erie School Board this evening, becoming the first out trans person ever elected in the state of Pennsylvania. Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills released the following statement about his win: "Tyler Titus shattered a lavender ceiling in Pennsylvania today – and his victory will resonate well-beyond state boundaries. Trans people remain severely underrepresented in our politics and government, and now more than ever we need trans voices like Tyler's in the halls of power. This is a historic night for trans candidates across the country – and Tyler is part of a vanguard of leaders who are determined to be part of the conversation on issues that affect their lives."
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Equality California, NCLR and GLAD Hit Back Again at Trump's Transgender Military Ban in Powerful New Filing

LOS ANGELES (November 6, 2017) –The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed a response today in the Equality California case Stockman v. Trump challenging Trump's transgender military ban in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Today's court filing is the first in Stockman since Judge Kollar-Kotelly's ruling last week in NCLR and GLAD's other case Doe v. Trump, finding Trump's ban to be unconstitutional and issuing a nationwide injunction against the ban. 
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Lambda Legal: Senate Republicans Sprint Forward This Week to Stack Federal Courts with Toxic Judges

Washington, DC - November 2, 2017 – Senator Mitch McConnell continued his push to deliver to President Trump four highly controversial, anti-civil rights, and anti-LGBT judicial nominees to federal courts of appeals. Casting aside even the appearance of careful deliberation, the Senate today confirmed the remaining two nominees placed on the agenda for this week – Allison H. Eid to the U.S. Court of Appeals to the Tenth Circuit and Stephanos Bibas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
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Civil Rights Organizations: Our Immigration Policies Must Reflect Our Nation's Values

WASHINGTON - November 2, 2017 -- Following President Trump's meeting with Republican senators to discuss the future of immigrant youth who have been thrust into legal limbo, civil rights leaders from across the country unite to call on President Trump and policymakers on both sides of the aisle to adopt inclusive immigration policies instead of racially divisive ones. The organizations issued the following joint statement: "Congress has an opportunity to do something positive for the country by passing a bipartisan Dream Act by the end of this year. Doing so would allow young immigrants to finally be recognized as Americans on paper, allowing them to more fully contribute to their families, communities, and the country they call home. The clock is ticking for Congress to do its job: every day, DACA recipients run the risk of losing the work authorization they need to live free from fear of deportation.
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Lambda Legal: Rush by Sen. McConnell to Jam Through Anti-LGBT Judicial Nominees Threatens to Choke Justice Across the Co

Washington, DC - November 1, 2017 – The United States Senate this week continues to run roughshod over the judicial nomination process, forcing through confirmations of two controversial anti-LGBT nominees – Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Joan Larsen to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit – and lining up two more – Allison H. Eid to the Tenth Circuit, and, later this week, Stephanos Bibas to the Third Circuit.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Disappointed by Confirmation of Joan Larsen to U.S. Court of Appeals

WASHINGTON - November 1, 2017 – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on the Senate's confirmation of Joan Larsen, a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit: "For the second time this week, the Senate Republicans have rubber stamped another one of President Trump's extreme judicial nominees. As a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court and as an academic before that, Justice Larsen has established a record that is antagonistic to civil and human rights.
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Lambda Legal Condemns U.S. Senate's Effort to Jam through Controversial Judicial Nominees

Washington, DC - October 31, 2017 – The U.S. Senate moved ahead today with an effort to force through four controversial judicial nominees to lifetime appointments to federal courts of appeals. This afternoon, the Senate confirmed the first of these nominees, Amy Coney Barrett, for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and is now pushing ahead with the nomination of Joan Larsen for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Condemns Confirmation of Amy Barrett to U.S. Court of Appeals

WASHINGTON - October 31, 2017 – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on the Senate's confirmation of Professor Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit: "Today's vote continues the Senate Republicans' record of rubber stamping all of President Trump's judicial nominees. Our federal courts should be comprised of fair and independent judges who will safeguard the rights of all people in America, but Professor Barrett's record shows that she will not be such a judge.
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Transgender Law Center files amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Masterpiece case

(Oakland, CA - October 31, 2017) – Yesterday, Transgender Law Center joined organizations across the country in filing a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to reject discrimination as it considers Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The brief, submitted by Transgender Law Center and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP on behalf of Transgender Law Center, Southerners on New Ground (SONG), GSA Network, and TransLatina Network, details the harm that a ruling sanctioning discrimination would cause transgender and gender non-conforming people of color and highlights the resilience of the transgender and gender non-conforming community.  The brief also outlines why the U.S. Supreme Court should follow well established legal precedent that has consistently not allowed the creation of exceptions to an otherwise valid and necessary civil rights protection based on freedom of speech or religious objections.
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