The award, which recognizes men and women who have been instrumental in ensuring that all people, and all families, receive equal justice under the law, is co-sponsored by the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities.
“Jim Silkenat’s career includes a long and distinguished record of pursuing human rights and equality through the law,” said D'Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of The LGBT Bar. “Just as the law has evolved and progressed toward more inclusion and greater equality, the ABA, under his stewardship, continues to be a model for LGBT inclusiveness and diversity.”
Silkenat, who is being honored as an “ally in the ABA,” will be joined by fellow honorees Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (“ally in government”), attorney Judith Sperling-Newton (“ally in small practice”) and Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe (“ally in the academy”).
“From his time as chair of the Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights (now Human Rights First) to his work today, he has been a consistent champion of the rule of law and the rights of all people. As The Bar continues its work with the ABA in areas such as ending the use of ‘gay panic’ defenses and encouraging more leadership within our profession by LGBT and allied lawyers, Jim’s leadership will continue to be instrumental to our success,” said Kemnitz. “We’re proud to pay tribute to him. He is not just an ally; he is a true friend of the LGBT community and The LGBT Bar.”
The National LGBT Bar Association is a national association of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals, law students, activists and affiliated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legal organizations. The LGBT Bar promotes justice in and through the legal profession for the LGBT community in all its diversity.
The ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity leads the association’s commitment to secure equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the Bar, the legal profession, the justice system and society. The ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities provides leadership within the ABA and the legal profession in protecting and advancing human rights, civil liberties and social justice.
With nearly 400,000 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.