Save the Date: Honoring Pride and Activism
On June 19th, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Committee will host its annual Pride Reception. At the Reception, the Committee will honor Judith Turkel and Alphonso David with the Art Leonard Pride Award for their efforts to protect the rights and improve the lives of LGBT New Yorkers. Ms. Turkel, a partner in the law firm of Turkel Forman & de la Vega, practices in the area of non-traditional family law and has volunteered with numerous LGBT organizations and Mr. David, a civil rights attorney, currently serves as Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo and was instrumental in getting same-sex marriage approved in New York in 2011. Members and the public are welcome to attend and celebrate the accomplishments of these two talented and dedicated attorneys.
Nigeria's Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill
In a joint letter to the President of Nigeria, the Committees on African Affairs, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights and Sex and Law expressed opposition to Nigeria’s Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill, which generally criminalizes homosexual conduct and advocacy. The Bill, the letter argues, threatens the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals who are LGBT and Nigerian organizations that support LGBT rights, and violates Nigeria’s obligations under international and regional law.
Vance Center Coordinates Amicus Brief Filing in Inter-American Court
This summer, the Vance Center coordinated the drafting of an amicus brief, submitted by the Association’s Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights and many other organizations, in the matter of Karen Atala v. Chile, which is currently before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The case centers on a 2004 Chilean Supreme Court ruling forcing Atala, herself a Chilean judge, to cede custody of her three children to her estranged husband based on her sexual orientation. The issue posed in this case is whether a parent’s sexual orientation can be a basis for determining child custody.
The amicus brief argues that the weight of international authority holds that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates human rights, and that lesbian and gay parenting is compatible with the best interests of a child. The brief was prepared by attorneys at Morrison & Foerster. The groups that signed on to the brief were the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic of the City University of New York, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission on behalf of Amnesty International; ARC International; Center for Constitutional Rights; Consultaria para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento; Council for Global Equality; Human Rights Watch; International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission; International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at the City University of New York School of Law; Lawyers for Children, Inc.; Legal Aid Society of New York; Legal Momentum; MADRE; National Center for Lesbian Rights; National Economic and Social Rights Initiative; and Women’s Link Worldwide.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act
The Labor and Employment Law, Sex and Law and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Committees issued a joint report supporting the passage of the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009 (ENDA), which would ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace. Specifically, ENDA would provide that employers, employment agencies, and labor unions shall not: (1) subject an individual to different standards or treatment on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, or (2) discriminate against an individual in connection with employment or employment opportunities, including hiring, firing, promotion, or compensation, based on the sexual orientation or gender identity of persons with whom such individual is believed to associate or to have associated.