Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest legal organization in the United States committed to achieving full civil equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, as well as those living with HIV. It is a nonprofit organization that aims to achieve positive change within these diverse communities through means such as impact litigation, education, and public policy advocacy.
On April 25, 2014, Lambda Legal held its annual San Francisco Soirée at City View at the Metreon in the heart of San Francisco. Justia had the honor of being a gold event sponsor this year and sent a contingent of employee representatives from our headquarters in Mountain View to be present at the event.
As a company that works with educational, public interest and other socially focused organizations to make legal materials and consumer resources free and easily accessible online, Justia’s sponsorship of the Lambda Legal San Francisco Soirée was a natural extension of a mission our company has been exemplifying since its inception. Many of our employees are lawyers or have an educational or professional background in law, as well as contribute to the various online public interest projects, legal aid, civil rights, and educational projects in which Justia is involved. Attending the Lambda Legal event as a sponsor offered us not only the opportunity to financially support an organization with a mission complementary to Justia’s but also to keep abreast of Lambda’s most recent advocacy work on behalf of LGBT individuals nationwide.
Lambda Legal board member, Brad Seiling, spoke at the event about the organization’s recent filing of a federal lawsuit in Georgia on behalf of a widow and three same-sex couples, seeking to overturn the state’s discriminatory marriage amendment. As the law currently stands, the state of Georgia recognizes only marriages between opposite-sex couples. If the plaintiffs succeed in their lawsuit, Georgia could join a large majority of U.S. states with pending litigation involving LGBT civil rights issues. In fact, of the 33 states that have marriage equality bans, only four states do not currently have lawsuits challenging those bans. Seiling also stressed how far the the marriage equality movement has come in the past 10 years since Massachusetts became the first state to extend civil marriage rights to same-sex couples back in 2004.
The Lambda Legal event also included two guest speakers involved in small-town LGBT advocacy: a former high school student and teacher at Sultana High School in Hesperia, California. Julia Frost spoke about her 16 years as a high school English teacher in Hesperia, and about the discrimination and harassment to which she was subjected as a result of her sexual orientation, reminding event attendees that Lambda Legal’s outreach and advocacy is necessary even in California, despite a common assumption that the state is uniformly progressive throughout. Lambda Legal is currently representing Ms. Frost in the San Bernardino County Superior Court on claims involving harassment, discrimination, termination of employment, and unlawful retaliation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Education Code.
Justia is proud show support for an organization like Lambda Legal that strives to create sound public policy through community education and impact litigation. To learn more about the work Lambda Legal does on behalf of the LGBT community and those living with HIV, or to learn how you can get involved, visit Lambda’s website here.