Legal Momentum takes a leading role in helping courts understand how restricting the institution of marriage to opposite-sex couples fosters impermissible sex stereotypes. The right of same sex couples to marry is one of the defining civil rights issues of our time.
Those who wish to deny same-sex couples the right to marry rely on outdated sex stereotypes about "gender appropriate" roles within marriage, typically arguing that children need a "mother" and a "father" role model and suggesting, for example, that men are responsible for teaching children about initiative, risk taking, and independence whereas women are responsible for care giving and nurturing.
Legal Momentum has long been recognized as a pioneer in eradicating sex discrimination in all aspects of our society. That's why national organizations, including Lambda Legal Defense Fund and the ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project have asked Legal Momentum to bring its expertise on sex discrimination issues to bear in this context. With generous pro bono assistance from Irell & Manella, LLP, we have prepared or signed onto amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs in many of the important cases working their way through courts around the country.
Legal Momentum is also actively opposing the discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment which would ban marriage rights for same-sex couples
Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and MA v. Dept. of HHS - Determines the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Section 3 defines marriage as between one man and one woman. November 2011
Andersen v. King County - Considered the constitutionality of a state ban on same-sex marriage. July 2006
Baker v. Vermont - Determined whether denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated Vermont's marriage statutes and/or Vermont's Common Benefits Clause. December 1999
Bowers v. Hardwick - Determined the constitutionality of state anti-sodomy laws. June 1986
Boy Scouts of America v. Dale - Determined whether the Boy Scouts of America have a constitutional right to revoke the membership of a scout leader for being gay despite state law prohibiting such discrimination in places of public accommodation. June 2000
Cardona v. Shinseki - When denying veterans' benefits to a service member with a same-sex spouse, should such classifications should be treated with heightened scrutiny. April 2012
Case of Atala and Daughters v. Chile - The Inter-American Court (IACHR) handed down a ruling overturning the Chilean Supreme Court’s 2004 decision denying Judge Karen Atala custody of her children in favor of her ex-husband. February 2012
Golinski v. U.S. Office of Personnel Management, et al - Challenging denial of spousal health benefits by employer on basis of same-sex marriage.
Goodridge v. Department of Public Health - Considered whether denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated the individual liberty and equality safeguards of the Massachusetts Constitution, protecting freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into protected areas of life and freedom to partake in state benefits. November 2003
In re Thompson - Determined the right of a non-biological lesbian mother to visitation with children she raised with her former partner. September 1999
In the Matter of the Application of Alison D. - Determined the parental rights of a non-biological lesbian co-parent after she and the biological co-parent are no longer partners. May 1991
Lewis v. Harris - Considered the constitutionality of New Jersey's ban on same sex marriage. October 2006
Li v. Oregon - Determined whether denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated the Oregon Constitution. April 2005
Nabozny v. Podlesny - Determined the right of a homosexual student to sue for peer-to-peer sexual harassment under §1983 and the 14th Amendment. July 1996
Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services - Determined whether Title VII's prohibition against workplace sexual harassment applies to same-sex sexual harassment. March 1998
Steffan v. Aspin - Considered whether Department of Defense regulations against homosexuality in the military violate the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause. November 1993
Strauss v. Horton - Sought to overturn California's Prop 8, the state's same-sex marriage ban. May 2009