Greetings and welcome to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), leading the ABA’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and full and equal participation by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in the Association, the legal profession and society.
June 25, 2013 was a great day for the LGBT Community and for all of us who are working for the cause of inclusion and diversity. Brick by brick we are removing the vestiges of animus and discrimination against lesbians, gays and transgender persons. The Supreme Court decisions in Windsor and Perry eliminate federal bias against same-sex marriage and allow for such marriages to resume in California. Copies of the Supreme Court opinions in both cases are available in the SOGI website.
What has also been a source of inspiration is the support of the American Bar Association in these efforts for inclusion and diversity. In 2010, the House of Delegates adopted Resolution 111, calling for the repeal of DOMA Section 3. Consistent with that Resolution, the ABA filed an amicus brief in the Windsor case arguing for the repeal of DOMA. The LGBT community is honored and proud that the ABA has always been our supporter. A copy of the ABA’s amicus brief can also be found on our website.
Marriage equality is another step in our efforts for inclusion and diversity. There is still more that we need to do.
The SOGI Commission is just starting its sixth year. Although quite young, we are very proud of our accomplishments on behalf of the LGBT community. The SOGI Commission has and will be instrumental in directing policy, leading efforts for full LGBT inclusion and education efforts. We are proud of our “Best Practices” guide and a full range of CLE programming, including panels and webinars on the status of service members following the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, transgender rights and benefits and judicial training on LGBT legal issues.
The past and future success of the SOGI Commission is based on the efforts of our Commissioners and liaisons, but also the ABA’s on-going commitment to diversity and inclusion, a thriving LGBT legal community, and the efforts of our allies within the legal profession and justice system.
As the Chair of the SOGI Commission, I am dedicated to ensuring that we continue to seek out opportunities to collaborate with ABA leadership and others on diversity and inclusion initiatives; advocate for LGBT issues through policy development; be an informational resource on LGBT matters for the legal profession and justice system; and, educate the profession and public about the barriers that LGBT persons face with the legal profession and justice system.
If you are interested in being a part of this very exciting and essential work, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Commission or our outstanding staff.