Lambda Legal announces DC office, ambitious campaign to thwart Trump attacks on LGBT rightsAround the Nation, Breaking News, Top Highlights Friday, June 16th, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Lambda Legal officially announced the opening of its first-ever Washington office at an annual event hosted at the Newseum, and previewed ambitious plans for its soon-to- launch $100 million campaign effort to oppose and derail escalating attempts by the Trump Administration to unravel LGBT rights. The Washington office is being led by veteran civil rights attorney Sharon McGowan, who formerly served under President Obama in the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice and who will also serve as one of the key architects behind the Washington office’s effort to aggressively fight the administration and its anti-LGBT congressional allies to protect the progress made by the LGBT community.
The event also featured remarks by Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Chris Coons (D-DE), who were honored by Lambda Legal for their steadfast and unrelenting support for LGBT rights, and for demonstrating courage in advocating for equality.
“We’re facing a crucial moment in our ongoing fight for equality, and what we do today will have an impact for decades to come,” said Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal’s Director of Strategy and head of the Washington office. “We’re facing unprecedented threats by an administration emphatic on turning back the clock. This is why Lambda Legal is standing firmly on the front line, bringing the fight to Trump’s doorstep, and vowing to work tirelessly against the tyranny of this administration. Our expanded presence here in DC is sending a clear message to anti-LGBT extremists: we’ve been here before, we’ve defeated you before, and we’ll do it again.”
As the Trump administration has elevated anti-LGBT extremists into key leadership positions, and continues to put forward anti-LGBT judicial nominees for the federal bench, the LGBT community finds itself in a politically hostile environment that threatens to chip away at and dismantle progress made over the last two decades.
Just this week, Lambda Legal spearheaded an effort that brought together 15 other national LGBT groups to oppose the confirmations of anti-LGBT judicial nominees John K. Bush (to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit) and Damien Schiff (to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims), citing public statements and writings from both nominees and their repeated demonstration of “contempt for LGBT Americans, people living with HIV, women, and other vulnerable populations.” The effort kicked off the beginning of an aggressive campaign by Lambda Legal’s DC team to block the confirmations of anti-LGBT judicial nominees, of which more are expected in the coming months and years.
“Our Washington office is not the beginning of our efforts to oppose Trump’s anti-LGBT policies, it’s a promise,” said Rachel Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal. “It’s a promise that we will continue ratcheting up our efforts to defend LGBT people against attacks on our rights, and will bring our resources, expertise, and resilience to bear. We are not only the resistance but the counter-offensive.”
Lambda Legal is engineering an aggressive strategy for deploying its resources and legal expertise at the forefront of the larger Trump resistance, building on an already established legacy of defending the LGBT community against discrimination and pressing for representation of LGBT concerns in the courts, in Congress, and with the cabinet. The effort comes at a crucial time that will ultimately be seen as a major turning point in the larger push for equality, and Lambda Legal’s role as one of the most outspoken and well-organized opponents of the administration will play a major role in how the challenges facing LGBT Americans today will impact future generations.
Lambda Legal’s DC operation will also continue to work closely with allies on Capitol Hill who are leading the fight for equality in the halls of Congress, including leaders like Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Chris Coons (D-DE) who were honored at last night’s event for demonstrating courage, giving a voice to the LGBT community, and continuing to use their platforms in the Senate to ensure that decades of progress in securing crucial protections aren’t dismantled by anti-LGBT extremists.
“Change does not come from Washington. It comes to Washington,” Sen. Booker said to attendees. “Well, Washington better wake up, because Lambda Legal has come to Washington.”
Sen. Coons also spoke to the impact Lambda Legal’s presence will have on the larger fight to defend LGBT rights, remarking, ““How do we defend our democratic values of equality, openness and inclusion? We can stand with Lambda Legal and fight for civil rights.”
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