Litigation was the pathway to the freedom to marry in many states. It often takes a judge to challenge prevailing assumptions (and even prejudice) that political decision-makers such as legislators or voters may be more unwilling to overcome. Early on, we won in state courts, first in Hawaii in the 1990s, then in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, and Iowa. Later, we won in federal court, first in California, then in Utah, Oklahoma, and beyond, all the way up to the Supreme Court. In total, 25 of our final state victories (aside from the 13 final states we won at the U.S. Supreme Court) came through judicial rulings – 5 in state court and the rest in federal court.  Most of these court wins came through our movement’s legal arm – the American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights – while a significant share were initiated by private attorneys and assisted by growing numbers of law firms eager to join in the progress. Several of these victories, though, were stripped away by political attack, and most of them would not have happened had we not built momentum in public understanding and even the politics of the marriage debate, creating the climate for the courts to rule in our favor and ensure that the public and elected officials would accept the outcome. 

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LII was established in 1992 at Cornell Law School by Professor Peter Martin and Tom Bruce with a $250,000 multi-year startup grant from the National Center for Automated Information Research.[9] The LII was originally based on Gopher and provided access to United States Supreme Court decisions and the US Code.[3] Its original mission included the intent to "carry out applied research on the use of digital information technology in the distribution of legal information,...[and t]o make law more accessible."[9] In the early years of LII, Bruce developed Cello the first web browser for Microsoft Windows.[10][11] Cello was released on 8 June 1993.[12] In 1994 LII moved from Gopher to the Web.[3] Since 2007 the IRS has distributed its IRS Tax Products DVD[13] with LII's version of 26 USC (Internal Revenue Code).[14]
A lawsuit may involve dispute resolution of private law issues between individuals, business entities or non-profit organizations. A lawsuit may also enable the state to be treated as if it were a private party in a civil case, as plaintiff, or defendant regarding an injury, or may provide the state with a civil cause of action to enforce certain laws.
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