National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Mark F. Johnson, Media Director
2320 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
WASHINGTON, DC---January 12, 1998--- The Supreme Court today declined to hear the case
of a woman who had a job offer rescinded because she is a lesbian. An appellate court had
previously ruled that the woman's civil rights were not violated by the employment
Attorney Robin Shahar was offered a position in the Georgia Attorney General's office
in 1991. After she accepted, then-Attorney General Michael Bowers rescinded the offer
after discovering she was planning a commitment ceremony with her partner. Bowers claimed
her lesbian relationship violated the Georgia sodomy law, which he himself defended in the
precedent-setting Supreme Court decision Bowers v. Hardwick.
"The Supreme Court's action highlights the need for legislation at the state,
local, and national level to promote equality and social justice for all people,"
said Kerry Lobel, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director. "Nearly one
in four Americans live where discrimination based on sexual orientation is outlawed.
Unfortunately Robin Shahar is not one of them. This case also serves as yet another
reminder of how sodomy laws are used against us in many facets of our lives."
The state of Georgia does not have a history of supporting equal rights for gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. There are no state laws banning discrimination
or hate crimes based on sexual orientation. The state does ban same gender marriage and
"We must be vigilant not only in the passage of civil rights laws, but also in the
repeal of sodomy laws," continued Lobel. Even though they are rarely enforced, they
are frequently used as the basis for other forms of discrimination. Another well
documented case includes Sharon Bottoms, who lost custody of her son because of Virginia's
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has worked
to eliminate prejudice, violence and injustice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgendered people at the local, state and national level since its inception in 1973.
As part of a broader social justice movement for freedom, justice and equality, NGLTF is
creating a world that respects and celebrates the diversity of human expression and
identity where all people may fully participate in society.