SPLC adds lawyer to head LGBT cases

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center says it's expanding its staff of attorneys, one of whom will lead its work in cases on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender issues.

Christine P. Sun will serve as the deputy legal director in the SPLC's Montgomery office, and will lead the organization's work on LGBT cases, as well as work on many other constitutonal issues.

Sun is a prominent civil rights attorney with extensive experience in cases involving the rights of LGBT people.

Sun previously served as senior counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union's LGBT and AIDS Project. During her time with the ACLU, Sun served as lead counsel on many state and federal cases involving LGBT rights.

Sun has been involved in many high-profile LGBT cases, including the successful challenge to Arkansas' statutory ban on unmarried and same-sex couples fostering and adopting children. She was also the lead counsel on the case of Constance McMillen. McMillen is the Mississippi teenager whose school district cancelled her senior prom rather than allow her to attend with her girlfriend.

The SPLC also added two other lawyers to handle cases in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Jody Owens II will lead the organization's Mississippi office. Owens will direct efforts to reform the state's juvenile justice system.

Owens previously served as an attorney in Jackson, Mississippi.

Katie Scwartzmann also joins the SPLC staff. Schwartzmann becomes the managing attorney for the organization's Louisiana office, where she will head efforts to reform education and juvenile justice systems.

Schwartzmann joins the SPLC after serving as the managing attorney for the ACLU's Louisiana office.