Womble Bond Dickinson Columbia Office Managing Partner Kevin Hall has been honored as a 2021 Diversity & Inclusion Award winner by North Carolina/South Carolina Lawyers Weekly.
Hall has long been a leader in South Carolina’s commercial litigation and political law circles. But in addition to this high-profile work, he also is helping lead the fight for LGBTQ equality. At the firm, Hall is Co-Chair and founder of Womble PRIDE, the firm’s LGBTQ affinity and ally group.
He was instrumental in getting South Carolina’s “No Promo Homo” law overturned. This law prevented educators from discussing same-sex relationships or presenting LGBTQ people in a positive light, effectively stigmatizing LGBTQ students. Such laws generally exist in health/sex education regulations, but often are vague and misapplied to other parts of the curriculum. These laws increase the likelihood of name-calling and bullying. In addition, they limit the ability of faculty to provide support to LGBTQ students.
Thanks to Hall filing a federal lawsuit in early 2020, South Carolina’s “No Promo Homo” law was removed from its Comprehensive Health Education Act. The U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina on March 11, 2020 entered a consent decree that declares South Carolina’s 1988 “No Promo Homo” law unconstitutional and bars its enforcement.
“In South Carolina, people across the political and ideological spectrum understand that no one should be excluded because of their LGBTQ identity,” Hall said. “That’s why Republicans and Democrats alike are working in this case to overturn this clearly unconstitutional statute — and we’re honored to represent the effort by supporting these courageous students and the many young people in South Carolina who are being harmed by it each year.”
In 2017, Hall stepped up to ensure that South Carolina’s domestic violence laws protected all people, married or unmarried, gay as well as straight. He worked with the South Carolina Equality Coalition in filing an amicus brief with the state’s Supreme Court asking the court to clarify a previous order. The Court did so in November 2017, thereby extending domestic violence protections to all citizens.
In addition to his own legal work, Hall is an advocate for helping other lawyers promote LGBTQ equality. For example, he was a featured speaker at the 2020 Lavender Law conference, the nation’s largest meeting of LGBTQ attorneys.