Articles Tagged with lgbt


Justia employees & supporters at Lambda Legal's San Francisco Soirée

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.


gaypride_flagThe Missouri Supreme Court, sitting en banc, issued a decision yesterday that, on its face, seems like a defeat for proponents of same-sex marriage in that state. In Glossip v. Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System, the state’s highest court upheld a state statute that requires a person be married to a highway patrol employee in order to receive benefits after the employee’s death. Although the Missouri constitution prohibits recognition of same-sex marriages, the plaintiff did not challenge that provision (so the court did not rule on that).

The facts of the case are fairly straightforward. Dennis Engelhard and Kelly Glossip, both men, were in a domestic partnership and “held [themselves] out to [their] families and [their] community as a couple in a committed, marital relationship.” Engelhard was a state highway patrolman and was killed in the line of duty. Glossip applied for survivor benefits, and his application was denied because the relevant state law allows benefits only for a surviving “spouse.” After his application was rejected, Glossip filed this lawsuit challenging the state statute restricting survivor benefits based on marital status, as well as the statute defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Importantly, Glossip did not challenge the state’s constitutional provision prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriages.

Posted in: Litigation, State

This year has seen some definitive advances in how certain states address the issue of insurance discrimination against transgender people. California, Colorado, Oregon, and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia, have issued bulletins that clarify their state laws to prohibit discrimination against transgender people for health services deemed medically necessary. Some states, such as California, also outline an appeals process for individuals whose claims are denied. Here is the bulletin California recently issued:

[California law] prohibits health plans from discriminating against individuals because of the individua’s gender, including gender identity or gender expression …  If a health plan denies an individual’s request for services on the basis that the services are not medically necessary or that the services do not meet the health plan’s utilization management criteria, the health plan’s decision is subject to review through the Department’s Independent Medical Review (IMR) process …  The Department directs health plans to revise all current health plan documents to remove benefit and coverage exclusions and limitations related to gender transition services.

At present, the majority of private insurance plans include coverage exclusions specifically aimed at denying transgender people the ability to access treatment or procedures associated with transitioning, often referred to as sexual reassignment. In addition, insurance plans often exclude coverage of health care services for transgender individuals that would otherwise have been covered, had the person in question not been transgender. These services can include behavioral health, medical, and surgical procedures. Often, the exclusion is justified on the basis that the treatment is not medically necessary, but rather a cosmetic procedure, and the transgender person’s claim is consequently denied when it may otherwise have been covered for treatment not related to gender identity.

Coverage may also be denied in instances where a person’s gender marker on an insurance card doesn’t seem to match up with the treatment being sought. For example, an insurance plan may choose not to cover a yearly gynecological exam for someone who has legally changed their gender to male. The same goes for gender-specific preventative or treatment in instances of breast, ovarian, cervical, or prostate cancer. 

Posted in: Legal News

Two months ago, a huge celebration marked the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), the policy that allowed the military to treat gays and lesbians differently than heterosexual members of the armed forces. The repeal represented a big win for the LGBT community.

Posted in: Laws