Kenneth D. Upton Jr.

Senior Litigation Counsel


Kenneth D. Upton Jr. is Senior Litigation Counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

With more than 30 years of trial and appellate experience in state and federal courts across the country, Kenneth most recently served as Senior Counsel for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people with HIV. During his 13 years there, Kenneth appeared in numerous Lambda Legal cases involving a range of issues including the freedom to marry, rights of same-sex couples who parent, workplace discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, inter-jurisdictional conflicts affecting the LGBTQ community under state laws, and the intersection of First Amendment speech and religion claims as they relate to sexual orientation and gender identity protection under non-discrimination laws.

Kenneth also has litigated cases involving HIV discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, HIV criminalization under various state statutes and litigation involving discrimination prohibited by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by health care providers and insurers.

Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Kenneth served as the Executive Director of the Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ, a 4,000-member church in Dallas, Texas, with a primary outreach to the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV.

Kenneth comes to Americans United from Texas, where he has served on the governing council of the LGBT Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and, in 2008, was the recipient of that section’s Norman W. Black Award in recognition of his significant contributions to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and HIV legal issues.

Kenneth is licensed to practice in the District of Columbia, as well as in Texas and Oklahoma state courts. Additionally, he practices in numerous federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.


Americans United & the National Women’s Law Center file suit to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans.

Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.

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