Kelsey Ryland

Kelsey RylandLegal Voice

Seattle, Wash.

Legal Voice pursues justice for all women and girls in the Northwest through ground-breaking litigation, legislative advocacy, and educational tools to help people understand their rights and the legal system.

July 24, 2013

Legal Voice works to ensure that all women and girls have these fundamental rights: to equal treatment and to be free from discrimination, to decide when and how to form and maintain their families, to be safe wherever they are, to economic equality and independence, to be healthy and active. Following the Legal Voice name is a phrase "Women's rights. Nothing less." In my experience at Legal Voice it is clear that this dedication to addressing women's rights and nothing less fuels the hard work and commitment of the attorneys and staff at Legal Voice.

My time this summer has been spent primarily researching issues that are on the cutting edge of the law in order to identify areas where Legal Voice can advocate for change either through impact litigation or legislation. My research has covered a wide range of areas from laws criminalizing abortion to the enforcement authority of the Insurance Commissioner to domestic violence in the LGBTQ community. The challenge and joy of researching for impact cases is that the law is not always clear. It requires me to use the law in creative ways, to see areas where change can be made to ensure that all women and girls have access to the resources they need to thrive.

By far one of the most exciting days in the office was when the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions came down from the Supreme Court. Legal Voice has been working on marriage equality for more than 30 years. The office was alive with a sense of celebration. In the evening I attended a celebration rally where Legal Voice was participating as one of the partners who worked to pass marriage equality in Washington. It was a wonderful time to celebrate with many LGBTQ couples who finally had the government say that their marriage counted — all the way. While marriage is certainly not the only issue facing the LGBTQ community and we have many more battles to fight (such as economic inequality, immigration, mass incarceration), it was an exciting moment to see the laws of our country finally validate the marriages of LGBTQ couples in Washington. I was honored to be able to celebrate this victory while being surrounded by people who have worked tirelessly to ensure that all couples in the state of Washington can experience the benefits and responsibilities of marriage if they so choose.

I look forward to continuing to work with Legal Voice this summer and working to create a community where all women and girls have access to their fundamental rights.

Court Level