The ACLU of Rhode Island and LGBT Rights

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Protecting Civil Liberties in Rhode Island for Over 50 Years

Court Cases

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The ACLU of Rhode Island and LGBT Rights

For years, the Rhode Island ACLU has supported the legal rights of the LGBT community in a variety of contexts. Below are some of the cases in which the ACLU has been involved over the years:

2007: Chambers v. Omiston

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  

“Friend of the court brief” supporting the right of a same-sex couple validly married in Massachusetts to have their divorce petition considered in Family Court.

2006: Doe v. Dan’s Donuts

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  

The ACLU served as co-counsel in this lawsuit claiming that the plaintiff was fired from his food-serving job after his employer found out that he was gay and HIV-positive.

2004: Tiverton School Committee v. McCullough

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  

Successful representation of a retired school teacher who sought to have the school district add her same-sex spouse to her health insurance plan.

1998: Davis v. Prignano

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  Police Practices  

Lawsuit, filed with GLAD, against the Providence Police Department for failing to release arrest reports of individuals charged with “loitering for indecent purposes” at a park which was the subject of anti-gay sting operations; the records were released.

1997: In re: C.D.

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  Police Practices  

Representation before internal police review board of a person harassed by Providence police officers on the basis of his sexual orientation.

1994: State v. Quitevis

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  

Defense representation of person charged with “loitering for indecent purposes” after being entrapped by police.

1993: M.V. v. Russo and Stephenson

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  

Favorably settled discrimination complaints on behalf of a person who had been denied dental treatment because of his HIV-status.

1992: Decristo v. R.I. Commission for Human Rights

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  Free Speech  

Successful federal lawsuit on behalf of a person with HIV who was barred by statute from publicizing his complaint of discrimination while it was pending before the Human Rights Commission.

1990: D’Errico v. D’Errico

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  

Appeal on behalf of a divorced gay man barred by a Family Court order from having his two children visit with him overnight or in the presence of his male partner; the appeal was voluntarily dismissed due to an incomplete trial record.

1988: In re: G.R.K.

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  

Successful appeal of a Probate Court decision denying a person’s request to change her first name from a male to female name after undergoing a sex change operation.

1987: Field v. Field

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  Privacy  

“Friend of the court” brief filed in state Supreme Court against Family Court custody restrictions on a mother solely because of her sexual orientation; the case was settled.

1984: Project Vote v. DiStefano

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  Voting Rights  

Successful federal lawsuit on behalf of R.I. Alliance for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights and other groups denied appointment as voter registrars by state Board of Elections.

1980: Santos v. Brown

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  Privacy  

Representation of person convicted of violating state sodomy law prohibiting “the abominable and detestable crime against nature”; the conviction was reversed on other grounds.

1976: Toward a Gayer Bicentennial Committee v. McQueeney

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  Right to Petition & Protest  

Restraining order issued by federal court on behalf of a gay group originally denied a permit to hold a parade in Providence.

1976: Toward a Gayer Bicentennial Committee v. R.I. Bicentennial Commission

Category: Discrimination  LGBT Rights  Right to Petition & Protest  

Successful court suit on behalf of a group arbitrarily denied official endorsement of a gay pride parade as a bicentennial event.