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LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

September 26, 2012

Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere were shocked to discover that an anti-gay hate group took their engagement photo and used it in political mailers to attack a Colorado lawmaker in 2012 for supporting same-sex civil unions. The SPLC and its allies filed a federal lawsuit against the group, Public Advocate of the United States, for misappropriating the likeness and personalities of the couple. It also charged that the group infringed on the photographer’s exclusive right to the photo.

Economic Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

November 19, 2018

Alabama unlawfully suspended the driver’s licenses of thousands of people unable to pay traffic tickets. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the state from suspending licenses without considering a person’s ability to pay and finding that the person willfully failed to pay. It also sought...

Children's Rights

Date Filed

July 12, 2018

Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission, an entity created every 20 years to revise the state’s laws, attempted to place a constitutional amendment on the state’s 2018 ballot that would have eliminated the duties of school boards to regulate public schools in their districts, including...

Hate & Extremism

Date Filed

June 26, 2003

After a Texas rancher invited the vigilante border patrol group Ranch Rescue to guard his property in 2003, two Salvadorans crossing the U.S. border were terrorized and assaulted by members of the group. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Salvadorans, obtaining more than $1 million in a settlement and judgments, including the title to Ranch Rescue’s Arizona headquarters.

Children's Rights
Immigrant Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

May 16, 2016

Officials with Florida’s Collier County schools effectively barred immigrant children with limited English skills from enrolling in high school and pushed them into an adult English program that offered no opportunity to earn credit toward a high school diploma – a violation of state and federal...

Criminal Justice Reform
Active Case

Date Filed

May 20, 2015

State employees at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as “Angola,” routinely and systemically failed to properly assess, diagnose and treat the medical problems of people who are incarcerated at the largest prison in the state, which for years has had the world’s highest rate of...

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

October 19, 2011

Linda Smith, a U.S. citizen, and “John Doe,” an undocumented immigrant, had been a couple for more than nine years. When they decided to marry, they could not obtain a marriage license from the Montgomery County Probate Office in Alabama because the office denied licenses to couples unable to prove both partners have legal immigration status. The policy was not required by any federal or state law. The SPLC filed a lawsuit challenging the policy.

Date Filed

February 10, 2010

Bernard Monroe Sr., an elderly black man, was shot to death on his front porch by a white police officer who had entered his house in Homer, La., without apparent justification or a warrant. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a wrongful death lawsuit that alleged two white officers created a volatile situation when they entered Monroe’s property during a gathering of his family and friends on Feb. 20, 2009. A settlement agreement was reached with the town in August 2010.

Criminal Justice Reform
Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

October 12, 2011

South Carolina passed an extreme anti-immigrant law in 2011. The law required police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops when they have “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an undocumented immigrant. It also criminalized everyday interactions with undocumented immigrants. The SPLC joined a coalition of civil rights groups in filing a federal class action lawsuit challenging the law as unconstitutional. A settlement reached in 2014 blocked major provisions of the law.

Date Filed

May 14, 2013

M.C. was born with an intersex condition – a difference in reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definition of male or female. When M.C. was just 16 months old and in the care of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, doctors and department officials decided the child should undergo sex assignment surgery to make M.C. a girl. There was no medical reason to perform this surgery, which robbed M.C. of the opportunity to decide what should happen to his body. The SPLC filed a lawsuit on behalf of M.C.’s adoptive parents.

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