American Bar Association Creates Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
CHICAGO, Nov. 9, 2007 – A newly created American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity will work to eliminate bias and discrimination against persons of differing sexual orientations and gender identities in the legal profession, the justice system and society.
“The ABA’s commitment to equality of opportunity is reflected in many policies opposing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in many contexts, including employment, housing, public accommodations, legal education, and child custody, adoption and foster care decisions,” said ABA President William H. Neukom of Seattle. “Although much progress has been made to reduce bias in this area, numerous studies demonstrate that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people continue to face pervasive discrimination within the legal profession, as they do in many other walks of life.”
Neukom noted that last February the association amended its Goal IX, which was adopted in 1991 and promotes full and equal participation in the legal profession by minorities, women and persons with disabilities, to include persons of differing sexual orientations and gender identities. He said the new commission will be the vehicle to implement the amendment.
“The commission’s creation recognizes that diversity in the legal profession is beneficial for all lawyers, just as it is in the larger community,” said Jeffrey G. Gibson of San Francisco, appointed to chair the new commission.
Members are Pamela C. Enslen of Kalamazoo, Mich.; Courtney G. Joslin of Davis, Calif.; Jeffrey E. M. Joyner, Patrick McGlone, David Remes, Paul M. Smith and Melvin White, all of Washington, D.C.; E. John Krumholtz of Arlington, Va.; Jennifer Levi of Easthampton, Mass.; Shannon Minter and Therese M. Stewart, both of San Francisco, Calif.; and Abby R. Rubenfeld of Nashville, Tenn. Mark D. Agrast of Washington, D.C., a past member of the ABA Board of Governors and past chair of the ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, is a special advisor to the commission.
The commission’s first meeting will be Nov. 30 through Dec. 1 in Washington, D.C.
With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.