BALIF Amicus Brief Archive

For more than thirty years, BALIF has participated as amicus – “friend of the court” – in cases raising issues of concern to the LGBT community and our allies.

Cases in which BALIF has participated as amicus are listed below. Click on the links to access the briefs.

2016

Carcaño v. McCrory, No. 16-1989

  • BALIF, joined by Impact Fund and a broad coalition of 35 additional bar associations and nonprofit organizations, filed an amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit in Carcaño v. McCrory. The case challenges H.B. 2, North Carolina’s discriminatory law that targets transgender people for discrimination in public schools and facilities and bars transgender people from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity. BALIF’s brief argues that H.B. 2 is classic example of unlawful sex stereotyping. The brief highlights the significant body of law confirming that targeting transgender people for their perceived gender non-conformity is sex stereotyping that violates constitutional and statutory prohibitions on sex discrimination.
  • Amicus counsel: Impact Fund

United States v. Texas, No. 15-674

  • BALIF joined the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) and a coalition of other organizations in an amicus brief in United States v. Texas. The case concerns Texas’s challenge to President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration, which expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and created a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program. The brief informs the Supreme Court of the special concerns of LGBT Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders (API). An estimated 267,000 undocumented immigrants are LGBT, of which a disproportionate share are API.
  •  Amicus counsel: NQAPIA and McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, No. 15-274

  • BALIF joined a coalition of national LGBT, racial equality, and health groups in filing a brief in a Supreme Court case challenging Texas’s restrictions on abortion providers. The brief urges the Supreme Court to remember the history of attempts to use pseudo-science and unsupported health-related justifications to exclude individuals and groups from the full protections of constitutional liberties, including laws criminalizing and discriminating against LGBT people.  
  • Amicus counsel: National Center for Lesbian Rights; Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld LLP

2015

Norsworthy v. Beard, 802 F.3d 1090 (9th Cir. 2015)

  • BALIF filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit in support of a transgender woman held in a California men’s prison. The brief argued in support of the district court’s decision that the state’s refusal to provide Ms. Norsworthy with gender-affirming surgery, which was determined to be medically necessary, violated the Eighth Amendment.
  • Amicus Counsel: Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld LLP

Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015)

  • BALIF filed a brief as lead amicus on behalf of thirty bar associations and nonprofit legal organizations in the Supreme Court’s case establishing nationwide marriage equality.
  • Amicus counsel: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

2014

De Leon v. Abbott, 791 F.3d 619 (5th Cir. 2015)

  • BALIF filed a brief in the Fifth Circuit as lead amicus on behalf of bar associations and other organizations in a case challenging Texas’s same-sex marriage ban.
  • Amicus counsel: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Baskin et al. v. Bogan, 766 F.3d 648 (7th Cir. 2014)

  • BALIF filed a brief in the Seventh Circuit as lead amicus on behalf of bar associations and other organizations in cases challenging Indiana’s and Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage bans.
  • Amicus counsel: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Latta v. Otter, 771 F.3d 456 (9th Cir. 2014)

  • BALIF filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit as lead amicus on behalf of bar associations and other organizations in a case challenging Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban.
  • Amicus counsel: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

DeBoer v. Snyder, Bourke v. Beshear, Tanco v. Haslam, 772 F.3d 388 (6th Cir. 2014) 

  • BALIF filed three briefs in the Sixth Circuit as lead amicus on behalf of bar associations and other organizations in cases challenging same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee
  • Amicus counsel: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Bostic v. Schaefer, 760 F.3d 352 (4th Cir. 2014)

  • BALIF filed a brief in the Fourth Circuit as lead amicus on behalf of bar associations and other organizations in a case challenging Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban.
  • Amicus counsel: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Bishop v. Smith, 760 F.3d 1070 (10th Cir. 2014); Kitchen v. Herbert, 755 F.3d 1193 (10th Cir. 2014)

  • BALIF filed a brief in the Tenth Circuit in support of marriage equality in cases challenging Utah’s and Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage bans.
  • Amicus counsel: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

2013

Sevcik v. Sandoval, 771 F.3d 456 (9th Cir. 2014)

  • BALIF filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit in support of marriage equality in cases challenging Hawaii’s and Nevada’s same-sex marriage bans.
  • Amicus counsel: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

2012

United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013)

  • BALIF joined a brief filed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Bar Associations, and Public Interest and Legal Service organizations in support of a constitutional challenge to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
  • Amicus counsel: Fulbright & Jaworski LLP

Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S. Ct. 2652 (2013)

  • BALIF filed a brief in the Supreme Court as lead amicus on behalf of bar associations and nonprofit organizations. The brief explained the harm inflicted on gay men and lesbians as a result of California’s Proposition 8.
  • Amicus counsel: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Golinski v. U.S. Office of Personnel Management,  824 F. Supp. 2d 968 (N.D. Cal. 2012).

  • BALIF filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit as lead amicus on behalf of bar associations in support of the district court’s decision declaring Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. The case involved a federal employee who was not allowed to add her same-sex spouse to her health plan under the federal employees’ health benefits program. The DOJ asked the Supreme Court to take the case before the Ninth Circuit decided it. After the Supreme Court decided United States v. Windsor, the Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal of the district court’s decision in Golinski.
  • Amicus Counsel: Kirkland & Ellis LLP

2011

Perry v. Schwarzenegger (N.D. Cal.)

  • BALIF filed a brief in the district court case in opposition to a motion to vacate the district court’s judgment based on Judge Walker’s alleged bias.
  • Amicus counsel: Perkins Coie

2010

Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 671 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2012)

  • BALIF filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit as lead amicus on behalf of bar associations and other nonprofit organizations in support of the district court’s finding that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. BALIF had also filed a brief in the district court.
  • Amicus counsel: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

2009

Strauss v. Horton, 46 Cal. 4th 364 (2009)

  • BALIF joined the brief of bar associations and nonprofit organizations in the California Supreme Court case challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8.
  • Amicus counsel: Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein LLP

2008

North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group, Inc. v. San Diego County Superior Court, 44 Cal. 4th 1145 (2008)

  • BALIF joined the brief of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and other organizations filed in the California Supreme Court in a case challenging the denial of fertility treatment to a lesbian patient.
  • Amicus counsel: National Center for Lesbian Rights

In re Marriage Cases, 43 Cal. 4th 757 (2008)

  • BALIF filed a brief in the California Supreme Court as lead amicus on behalf of bar associations and nonprofit organizations in case challenging California’s statutory ban on same-sex marriage.
  • Amicus counsel: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

In re Adoption of Joshua S., 42 Cal. 4th 945 (2008)

  • BALIF joined the brief of the ACLU and other nonprofit organizations in a California Supreme Court case concerning the availability of attorneys’ fees for the prevailing party who achieved a validation of a second parent adoption.
  • Amicus counsel: Rosen, Bien & Asaro

2007

Christian Legal Society Chapter of the University of California v. Kane (9th Cir.)

  • BALIF joined a brief on behalf of the ACLU and other nonprofit organizations filed in the Ninth Circuit in a case involving UC Hastings’s nondiscrimination policy and a student group that sought to use the school’s name and facilities despite admittedly discriminating based on sexual orientation and religion.

2006

Evans v. City of Berkeley, 38 Cal. 4th 1 (2006)

  • BALIF and Lambda Legal filed a brief in a California Supreme Court case concerning the constitutionality of Berkeley’s requirement that a group affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America provide assurances of nondiscrimination to qualify for free use of berths in the city’s marina.
  • Amicus Counsel: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP and Lambda Legal

2005

Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, 547 U.S. 47 (2006)

  • BALIF filed a brief along with the Human Rights Campaign and Legal Momentum in the Supreme Court case challenging the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment, which conditioned the receipt of federal funds by academic institutions on exempting the military from the institutions’ antidiscrimination policies limiting access to campus of employers who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • Amicus counsel: Morrison & Foerster LLP

Elisa B. v. Superior Court, 37 Cal. 4th 108 (2005)

  • BALIF joined the brief of the Tom Homann Law Association and other organizations in a California Supreme Court case concerning whether a lesbian parent was obligated to pay child support for a child conceived during the relationship with her former partner.
  • Amicus Counsel: Maxie Rheinheimer Stephens & Vrevich

Kristine H. v. Lisa R., 37 Cal. 4th 156 (2005)

  • BALIF joined the brief of the Tom Homann Law Association and other organizations in a California Supreme Court case concerning whether a parent could attack the validity of a stipulated judgment declaring that she and her former same-sex partner were the joint legal parents of their child.
  • Amicus Counsel: Maxie Rheinheimer Stephens & Vrevich

K.M. v. E.G., 37 Cal. 4th 130 (2005)

  • BALIF joined the brief of the Tom Homann Law Association and other organizations in a California Supreme Court case concerning whether a lesbian parent could establish a parental relationship with children born from her eggs (but carried by her former partner) after the couple’s relationship ended.
  • Amicus Counsel: Maxie Rheinheimer Stephens & Vrevich

2004

Lockyer v. City and County of San Francisco, 33 Cal. 4th 1055 (2004)

  • BALIF filed an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court in support of San Francisco’s refusal to enforce California’s then-discriminatory marriage laws by providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples
  • Amicus counsel: Bingham McCutchen

2003

Sharon S. v. Superior Court, 31 Cal. 4th 417 (2003)

  • BALIF joined the brief of the ACLU and LGBT nonprofit organizations in the California Supreme Court in support of second-parent adoption by a same-sex partner
  • Amicus counsel: National Center for Lesbian Rights

Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003)

  • BALIF joined an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in support of the constitutional challenge to Texas’s sodomy law.
  • Amicus counsel: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Chai Feldblum

2002

Goodridge v. Dep’t of Public Health, 440 Mass. 309 (2003)

  • BALIF joined the brief in the Massachusetts Supreme Court of Professors of Expression and Constitutional Law and other amici in support of marriage equality.
  • Amicus Counsel: David Cruz and Hill & Barlow

Hensela v. Department of the Air Force, 343 F.3d 951 (9th Cir. 2003)

  • BALIF filed an amicus brief with the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association in the Ninth Circuit challenging the Department of Defense’s policy on gays and lesbians in the military.
  • ·         Amicus counsel: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Boy Scouts of Am. v. Dist. of Columbia Comm’n on Human Rts., 809 A.3d 1192 (2002)

  • BALIF filed a brief in the D.C. Court of Appeals in case concerning whether application of the DC Human Rights statute to the Boy Scouts of America for revoking membership of gay scout leaders violated the Boy Scouts’ First Amendment right of expressive association.
  • Amicus counsel: Munger Tolles & Olson LLP   

2001

Holmes v. California Nat’l Guard, 90 Cal. App. 4th 297 (2001)

  • BALIF filed an amicus brief in the California Court of Appeal in a constitutional challenge to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” regulations
  • Amicus counsel: Munger Tolles & Olson, LLP

Rene v. MGM Grand Hotel, Inc., 305 F.3d 1061 (9th Cir. 2002)

  • BALIF filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit in an employment discrimination case arguing that Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination “based on sex” includes discrimination based on sexual orientation
  • Amicus counsel: Morgenstein & Jubelirer LLP

Smith v. Knoller et al. (2001)

  • BALIF and the City of San Francisco filed an amicus brief in the California Superior Court in a case concerning a same-sex partner’s right to recover under California’s wrongful death statute.
  • Amicus counsel: Swanson & McNamara LLP and Munger, Tolles & Olson

American Civil Liberties Union v. Ashcroft, 322 F.3d 240 (2003)

  • BALIF joined the brief of the American Society of Journalists and other organizations in the Third Circuit in support of a First Amendment challenge to the Child Online Protection Act.
  • Amicus counsel: Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP

2000

Murray v. Oceanside Unified Sch. Dist., 79 Cal. App. 4th 1338 (2000)

  • BALIF filed an amicus brief in the California Court of Appeal in support of teacher’s claim of harassment based on sexual orientation and the retroactive application of amendments to the FEHA
  • Amicus counsel: Swanson & McNamara

Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 30 U.S. 640 (2000)

  • BALIF filed a brief in the Supreme Court as lead amicus on behalf of bar associations urging the Court to conclude that a state’s application of its anti-discrimination laws to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination to the Boy Scouts of America does not violate the Boy Scouts’ First Amendment rights of expressive association.
  • Amicus counsel: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, Paua Brantner, and Swanson & McNamara

1998

Bragdon v. Abbott, 524 U.S. 624 (1998)

  • BALIF joined the Supreme Court brief of the AIDS Action Council and other nonprofit organizations regarding the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act to individuals with HIV/AIDS.
  • Amicus counsel: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Covington & Burling, and the Federal Legislation Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center

1997

Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Servs., Inc., 523 U.S. 75 (1997)

  • BALIF joined the Supreme Court brief of Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund and other nonprofit organizations arguing that same-sex sexual harassment is actionable under Title VII.
  • Amicus counsel: Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, ACLU Foundation, and Brooklyn Law School   

Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U.S. 844 (1997)

  • BALIF and Apollomedia Corporation filed a brief in the Supreme Court in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.
  • Amicus counsel: Rogers, Joseph, O’Donnell & Quinn

1995

Balyut v. Superior Court

Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996)

  • BALIF joined the brief of the Human Rights Campaign and other nonprofit organizations in case challenging constitutionality of amendment to the Colorado constitution prohibiting any state or local government action protecting lesbian and gay people.  
  • Amicus counsel: Chai Feldblum

Bottoms v. Bottoms, 249 Va. 410 (1995)

  • BALIF joined the amicus briefs in the Virginia Supreme Court and Virginia Court of Appeal of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and other organizations, in child custody dispute between different-sex couple, where the child’s mother was in a same-sex relationship.
  • Amicus counsel: National Center for Lesbian Rights and others

1994

In re M.S., 17 Cal. App. 4th 1328 (1994), review granted and opinion superseded, 862 P.2d 663 (Cal. 1993) and aff'd in part, 10 Cal. 4th 698 (1995)

  • BALIF filed an amicus brief in the California Court of Appeal in support of California’s “hate crime” statute, which was challenged on First Amendment grounds
  • Amicus counsel: Joyce M. Norcini, Robert J. Thyken, Jr.

Smith v. Fair Employment and Housing Comm’n 12 Cal. 4th 1143 (1996)

  • BALIF filed an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court in a case challenging whether a religious landlord may lawfully refuse to rent to an unmarried couple.

1986

San Francisco Arts & Athletics, Inc. v. U.S. Olympic Cmte., 483 U.S. 522 (1987)

  • BALIF, along with a coalition of civil rights organizations, filed a brief in the Supreme Court arguing that the Olympic Committee discriminated against the San Francisco Arts & Athletics by preventing them, but not other groups, from using the term “olympics” in connection with their athletic competitions, and in doing so, engaged in state action for purposes of the Fifth Amendment’s due process protections.
  • Amicus counsel: Teresa L. Friend

School Board of Nassau County v. Arline, 480 U.S. 273 (1987)

  • BALIF, along with the Employment Law Center, National Gay Rights Advocates, and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, filed a brief in the Supreme Court arguing that infection diseases can constitute a “handicap” for purposes of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and that an individual is protected by Section 504 when an employer erroneously believes that an individual’s disease may be communicated to others in the workplace.
  • Amicus counsel: Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe

1985

Hinman v. Dep’t of Personnel Admin., 167 Cal. App. 3d 516 (1985)

  • BALIF filed an amicus brief in the California Court of Appeal in case seeking an injunction to require the state to provide dental benefits for same-sex “family partners” of state employees.

Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1985)

  • BALIF joined the amicus brief of the National Gay Rights Advocates, Los Angeles Lawyers for Human Rights, and California Lawyers for Individual Freedom in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that a state exceeds its inherent authority in criminalizing intimate sexual conduct between consenting adults at home.
  • Amicus counsel: Edward P. Errante, Teresa Lynn Friend, and Paul Freud Wotman

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