Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

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active cases

Victory! (Colombia)

Colombia Diversa, Expediente No. D-6362, Corte Constitucional de Colombia
A group of Colombian human rights and LGBT organizations challenged their country’s marriage laws that excluded same-sex couples under the Colombia Constitution’s equal protection provision. NCLR filed an amicus brief along with the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Center for Health, Science and Public Policy at Brooklyn Law School, and the Center for the Study of Law & Culture at Columbia Law School. The Colombia Constitutional Court ruled on January 28, 2009 that same-sex couples must be granted the same legal rights and responsibilities as different-sex couples in common-law marriages.

 

Pending (Colorado)

Demers v. Zupancic
Marilynn Zupancic and her former partner Dianne were together for 30 years and planned on spending the rest of their lives together. Although they could not legally marry in their home state of Colorado, Marilynn and Dianne were partners in every respect. Marilynn, a teacher, supported Dianne while she was in graduate school, and they took out a mortgage on their jointly-owned home so that Dianne could pay off her school loans. In 2007, their relationship ended.


closed cases

Victory! (California)

Burrows v. ILWU
Marvin Burrows and his partner William Swenor were together for 51 years. Burrows and Swenor did everything within their power to demonstrate their commitment to each other and to provide for the surviving partner in the event of one partner's death, including registering as domestic partners. Swenor worked as a warehouse crew leader for more than 35 years. Throughout Swenor's employment, he was a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and contributed to their Pension Plan.

 

Victory! (California)

Knight v. Superior Court
Thomasson v. Schwarzenegger

Shortly after AB 205—the California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003—was signed into law, two right-wing groups filed lawsuits seeking to prevent the law from going into effect.

 

Victory! (California)

Koebke v. Bernardo Heights Country Club
Birgit Koebke and Kendall French, a lesbian couple who have been domestic partners for 12 years, sued the Bernardo Heights Country Club for refusing to provide them with the same membership benefits given to different-sex couples and for allowing other members to harass and insult them because of their sexual orientation.

 

Victory! (California)

Strong v. Board of Equalization 
Under California law, when a spouse dies and the other spouse inherits the couple’s home, the state will not reassess the tax value of the couple’s home. In 2003, the California Board of Equalization (BOE) adopted a rule that extended a similar protection to same-sex couples. When several counties filed a lawsuit challenging this rule in 2005, NCLR, Lambda Legal, and the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson, LLP, represented Equality California and three same-sex couples to defend the rule’s validity.

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