National Center for Lesbian Rights

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National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Lesbian Rights logo.png
FounderDonna Hitchens
FocusCivil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families
MethodLitigation, public policy advocacy, and public education
Key people
Imani Rupert-Gordon (Executive Director)
Shannon Minter (Legal Director)

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a non-profit, public interest law firm in the United States that advocates for equitable public policies affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, provides free legal assistance to LGBT clients and their legal advocates, and conducts community education on LGBT legal issues.[1][2] It is headquartered in San Francisco with a policy team in Washington, DC.[3][4] It is the only organization in the United States dedicated to lesbian legal issues,[5] and the largest national lesbian organization in terms of members.[6]

Through impact litigation, public policy advocacy, public education, collaboration with other social justice organizations and activists, and direct legal services, the NCLR advances the legal and human rights of LGBT people and their families across the United States.


NCLR was founded as the Lesbian Rights Project in 1977 by Donna Hitchens and other members of Equal Rights Advocates. Roberta Achtenberg served as the second Executive Director.[3][7] Kate Kendell served as Executive Director from 1996 to 2018.[8] In December 2019, NCLR announced Imani Rupert-Gordon would be the next Executive Director, beginning March 2020. Cindy Myers served as ED in the interim.[8][9]

Notable cases in which the firm has been a primary counsel include In re Marriage Cases,[10][11] Strauss v. Horton,[12][13] and Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.[14][15]

The NCLR runs a hotline to provide information to callers with legal questions related to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "For gay rights movement, a key setback", New York Times.
  2. ^ "Calif. Marriage Law Found Unconstitutional" The Associated Press and Fox News.
  3. ^ a b Rostow, Anne (June 7, 2005). "NCLR earns its stripes". The Advocate.
  4. ^ "Same-Sex Couples Ask California Supreme Court to Strike Down Marriage Ban: California Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on March 4" Joint Pree Release with NCLR
  5. ^ Zimmerman, Bonnie (2000). Lesbian histories and cultures: an encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. p. 219. ISBN 9780815319207.
  6. ^ Van Gelder, Lindsy; Pamela Robin Brandt (1997). The Girls Next Door. Simon & Schuster. p. 38. ISBN 9780684839578.
  7. ^ Newton, David E. (2009). Gay and lesbian rights: a reference handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 229. ISBN 9781598843071.
  8. ^ a b Ring, Trudy (December 17, 2019). "National Center for Lesbian Rights Leader on Making a Movement for All". The Advocate. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  9. ^ "NCLR Names Imani Rupert-Gordon as New Executive Director". NCLR. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  10. ^ "In re Marriage Cases — Case Home". Case Docket. NCLR. Archived from the original on 2011-05-10. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  11. ^ "California ban on same-sex marriage struck down". CNN. May 15, 2008. Archived from the original on December 2, 2010. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
  12. ^ "About the Prop 8 Legal Challenge". Case Docket. NCLR. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  13. ^ Strauss v. Horton, Cal. 4th 364 (Cal. May 26, 2009).
  14. ^ "Christian Legal Society v. Kane". Case Docket. NCLR. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  15. ^ Barnes, Robert (April 18, 2010). "Supreme Court to consider case against California law school". Washington Post.

External links[edit]