Legal Voice Programs
Every day we focus on activities contributing directly to lasting, systemic changes in society, from lawsuits, statutes, agency rules, and self help materials, to public education.
Seeking justice through the courts
Legal Voice brings cases to change the law in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. We represent Rachelle Black, a stay-at-home mother for 15 years who filed for divorce after coming out as a lesbian to her husband. The Pierce County court was highly critical of Rachelle’s “lifestyle choice:” it granted the father primary custody of the children and prohibited her from discussing “homosexuality, religion or other alternative lifestyle concepts” with her children. We cannot and will not allow these rulings to stand.
Making the northwest more just
Legal Voice drafts, analyzes and advocates for bills affecting women and their families in Washington, and provides legal assistance and model legislation to advocates in the region. In 2015 we are working to pass a bill ensuring prompt testing of rape kits, and bills creating more effective remedies for the problem of non-consensual pornography, or "revenge porn.”
Legal Voice educates communities about pressing legal issues through community forums, collaborations, and self help materials. We have worked tirelessly to educate judges how to identify when survivors of abuse are being re-victimized in the courts and what judges can do about this continued abuse.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Protecting Survivors of Violence
We represented a pregnant woman who received notice of a court order that completely violated her rights as a woman, as an expectant mother, and as a domestic violence survivor, while granting rights to a man who had not been legally established as her expected child's parent.
The court had ordered her to contact her former partner when she went into labor and tell him where she planned to give birth; allow him and his parents to be at the hospital when she gave birth; allow him and his parents to visit with her child in the hospital.
With her due date rapidly approaching, we had to act quickly. We drafted a response to the court's order and appeared in Spokane County Superior Court on her behalf. The Court agreed with our arguments and struck down the requirements.
Legal Voice is working for economic justice for all Washingtonians by drafting, advocating for and supporting these bills:
* Equal Pay Opportunity Act would reduce the wage gap by closing loopholes in laws and protecting employees who ask about or disclose wage information.
* Reproductive Health Act improves access to reproductive care by guaranteeing insurance coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptive methods and requiring all health care plans that cover maternity care to also cover abortion care.
* Paid Sick and Safe days establishes statewide minimum standards for paid sick and safe leave, ensuring workers are able to take paid time off work when they are ill, need to care for a sick family member, or need to cope with the effects of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.