Triumphant in recent landmark wins and appeals, Allred talks shop about what her success means for women and gay rights.
On November 5, 2008, Allred and her firm filed a writ with the California Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of California Proposition 8, which is an attempt to restrict marriage to couples consisting of a man and a woman. In the lawsuit filed on behalf of Robin Tyler and her spouse, Diane Olson, Allred contended that excluding same gender couples violates the equal protection Clause of the California constitution. Allredâs clients were the first couple to marry in Los Angeles County, in June 2008.
GA: After a four year long legal battle, in Maywewon a landmark victory in the California Supreme Court for same gender coupleswanting to marry in California. Unfortunately,opponents sought to reverse that decision with Proposition 8 which restricts legal marriage to a man and a woman. The Proposition passed by a narrow margin. In our case in May, the California Supreme Court ruled that the Equal protection clause in our California Constitution protects the rights of lesbians and gays to marry the person of their choice and the court, for the first time, recognized homosexuality as a “suspect classification” under the equal protection clause of our state constitution, requiring a strict scrutiny test which was not and cannot be met (theÂ court so held) in marriages limited to a man and a woman. If marriage now is limited to straight couples and excludes gay couples, then it is inconsistent and in conflict with the equal protection clause. We will argue to the court that Prop 8 is a disguised revision to the constitution which cannot be imposed by the ordinary amendment process, which only requires a simple majority. We believe that the court must hold that California may not issue marriage licenses only to non-gay couples because if it does it would be violating the equal protection clause as straight couples would have more rights by being allowed to marry than gay couples. The apparent passage of Prop 8 in California has been a heartbreaking experience for our clients and millions of same gender couples who have marriedÂ or wish to marry in California. All they asked for is equal rights under the law and equal respect and dignity for their families and their committed relationships. We will never give in and we will never give up. We will continue to be the change we wish to see in the world and we will never have another season of silence until same gender couples enjoy the same rights as non-gay couples on this green earth.
Gender Discrimination & Sexual Harassment
Allred on behalf of her client Virginia Tzortzos filed a sex discrimination suit against SBE (a California Corporation) which owns a popular West Hollywood nightclub called Foxtail. Virginia, age 30, of North Hollywood had been a bartender/food server for 12 years when she was hired as a bartender at Foxtail in January 2008. When the size 5-6 size, capable, attractive and skilled bartender gained five pounds she was told to work in the kitchen until she lost 5-6 pounds.
GA: We won an important victory for our client, Virginia Tzortzos. Management appeared to regard her as unsightly and not fitting their female stereotypic image, but males could bar tend despite being overweight or gaining weight. Virginia was never late, worked four nights a week, never called in sick, had perfect attendance and performed her job well at all times. No woman should be required to fit into a gender stereotype of what a sexy, attractive woman should look like. Men are not required to be rail thin, and women should not be subjected to a different standard. We were successful in winning an agreement to return Virginia to her job as a bartender serving the public without any weight requirement.
Female Farm Workers Employment Discrimination
Six women represented by Allred filed charges of employment discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, after they applied for work in 1998 picking grapes, leafing, tipping, tying vines or doing anything available. The women were told that the business did not hire women, and that all women were lazy.