Family Equality Council, a national organization that advocates on behalf of LGBTQ parents and their children, announced the hiring of Shelbi Day in the newly created position of Senior Policy Counsel.
“For the last several years, I have worked collaboratively with Family Equality Council and greatly value the organization’s commitment to and work on behalf of LGBTQ families,” Day said. “As a new parent, I am especially excited to join an organization whose mission is to ensure lived and legal equality for all families. Creating my own family has made me even more passionate about LGBTQ rights and has provided me with a personal perspective on the importance of lived equality and the various ways LGBTQ families face discrimination.”
Day comes to Family Equality Council with a prestigious career as a civil rights attorney focusing on LGBTQ issues both in the private and not-for-profit sectors. Most recently, Day was an attorney at Bouneff, Chally & Koh, a private law firm in Portland, Oregon, where she practiced in the areas of adoption, surrogacy, and assisted reproductive technology.
Prior to her work in Portland, Day’s career was dedicated to civil rights impact litigation, mostly on behalf of LGBTQ individuals and their families. She has served as a staff attorney at Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (Lambda Legal), ACLU of Florida, and National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). Most notably, Day was on the legal team in Sevcik v. Sandoval, Lambda Legal’s successful challenge of Nevada’s law prohibiting gay people from marrying, and Day was co-counsel in the ACLU’s landmark case in which a state appellate court ruled unconstitutional Florida’s law prohibiting lesbians and gay men from adopting children, rendering that adoption ban no longer enforceable. Day began her civil rights career at Southern Legal Counsel, Inc., initially as an Equal Justice Works Fellow working on a project related to the criminalization of homelessness and later as a staff attorney, working on a diverse range of civil rights issues.
“Shelbi has spent her career advocating for civil rights and the rights of LGBTQ families, and her commitment to our communities is moving,” said The Reverend Stan Sloan, executive director of the Family Equality Council. “In this post marriage equality landscape, our advocacy focus is shifting as we work on behalf of LGBTQ families that are marginalized by geographic and economic disparities. Shelbi has a proven record of fighting for those marginalized communities, and with her on our team, we will continue to make great strides towards our goal of lived equality for all LGBTQ people and families.”
Day will be responsible for Family Equality Council’s advocacy with federal agencies and will manage a federal and state legislative portfolio. She will also assist in public education efforts by leveraging the stories of LGBTQ families, facilitating educational forums and creating written resources that focus on the interests of the country’s three million LGBTQ parents and their six million children.
“The experience I have gained over the years, from litigating impact cases on behalf of LGBTQ people, to representing individual clients in adoption proceedings, will inform and provide a strong foundation for the policy work I will be doing at Family Equality Council,” stated Day. “Although marriage equality was a significant step toward equality for LGBTQ families, marriage alone does not guarantee it. We must continue to work to ensure that all families and parent-child relationships are recognized and protected regardless of how they are created, that LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination in all realms of their life, and that our most vulnerable families and children are not left behind.”
From 2002-2003, Day served as a law clerk for the Hon. Charles R. Wilson in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She graduated with high honors from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and has a master’s degree in Latin American Studies. Day will be based in Portland, Oregon.