June is the global celebration of Pride Month. Though our celebration may be virtual in most cities, this month we honor the many successes, achievements, and unique viewpoints of the LGBTQ+ community.
Especially during this trying time, we think it is important to highlight some of the notable achievements among the impressive amount of LGBTQ+ pro bono work MoFo has done since our last Pride Month celebration, including:
After enduring repeated physical and emotional abuse at the hands of local authorities in Cameroon for being a lesbian, MoFo client A had no choice but to flee in 2015 and seek asylum in the United States. Unbeknownst to her at the time, this decision would lead to a complex and challenging four-year-long separation from her two young sons, who were held behind in Cameroon due to the country’s complex immigration system. In 2016, a MoFo team won asylum for A and then began work on reuniting her with her sons. A’s unwavering determination fueled the efforts of Palo Alto attorneys Shannon Sibold, Hila Cohen, Chuck Comey, and Matt Malone, with support from local organizations and the Cameroonian LGBTQ+ community in the San Francisco Bay Area. In September 2019, A was reunited with her six-year-old son, who was just two when she last saw him. Now, Shannon and Hila have refocused their efforts on securing asylum for A’s other son, who is nine years old and still living in Cameroon.
New York litigator James Hough and San Francisco litigator Andre Fontana represented the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) on amicus briefs before the Fourth and Ninth Circuits supporting challenges to the Title X gag rule. Title X of the Public Health Service Act provides federal funding for family-planning services. The federal government’s recently issued gag rule restricts the information that health care providers can give to patients, particularly individuals seeking reproductive health care. NCLR took the lead on an LGBTQ+ organizations brief, which was joined by other groups including Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Campaign.
Transactional lawyers across the firm provide legal counsel to nonprofit organizations that engage with a spectrum of interests and concerns that is as wide as the LGBTQ+ community itself, from AIDS research and the needs of homeless LGBTQ+ youth to public policy advocacy to recreational softball.
Here are a few of the ways we will celebrate LGBTQ+ culture and its achievements this month: