Shannon Minter, legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, has helped many a client over the years. Now he and his family need help.
The home that Minter shares with his wife, Robin, and their many cats and dogs in rural Texas was hit by a tornado this week, and it’s beyond repair, according to The Bay Area Reporter.
Minter and the cats have been staying in a dry section of the house, while the dogs are with a friend. Robin was in California when the storm hit but is returning to Texas.
Minter tweeted Thursday about the damage.
A friend of the family has started a GoFundMe campaign for them. “Shannon Minter and his wife Robin have given a loving home to so many stray kitties and pups,” wrote the friend, who goes by the Twitter handle Cee Eyes. Many of us know Shannon for his big heart, kind words, and boundless devotion. … Now it’s time for us to do whatever we can as they begin to rebuild a safe home for the Minter Babies!”
The campaign quickly exceeded its initial goal of $10,000 and now has a goal of $50,000, of which slightly more than $37,000 had been raised as of Friday afternoon.
Minter, a transgender man, has been a longtime advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. He was lead counsel in the marriage equality case that led the California Supreme Court to rule in 2008 that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry. That ruling was overridden when voters approved Proposition 8 later that year, but Prop. 8 was struck down for good in 2013 and marriage equality restored to California.
He was also NCLR’s lead attorney in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld student group policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and rejected the argument that such policies violated a student group’s rights to freedom of speech, religion, and association.
Minter has received many accolades, appearing on several lists of top lawyers and winning awards including the Dan Bradley Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Bar Association, the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World award, Cornell Law School’s Exemplary Public Service Award, and the Anderson Prize Foundation’s Creating Change Award from the National LGBTQ Task Force.
Minter and his wife are well known for their pet rescues, and he documents the animals’ lives on his Twitter feed. “Shannon spends his life fighting for marginalized people and taking care of animals, most of which were abandoned,” friend Katharine Nyhus told the Reporter. “He’s a beautiful soul.”
NCLR spokesperson Christopher Vasquez issued the following statement Friday on behalf of the staff of the organization: “Our hearts at NCLR go out to our legal director Shannon Minter, one of the most inspiring and passionate legal minds in the LGBTQ movement. Right now our thoughts are with him, his wife Robin, and their expansive family of beloved cats and dogs that have provided much-needed light and levity to Twitter through some particularly tough years.
“We are heartened to see the vast and generous outpouring of support for the Minter family in the last 24 hours through a barrage of messages and two separate GoFundMe campaigns. Shannon is one of the bravest and most resilient individuals we know and we are positive he will come out of this temporary setback stronger than ever, ready to continue fighting for our community.”