Spring 2004

House of Delegates Passes Section-sponsored Resolutions at 2004 Midyear Meeting

Award Reception and Programs Also Featured

The ABA House of Delegates approved all four Section-sponsored policy resolutions at the 2004 ABA Midyear Meeting in San Antonio, Tex. The resolutions dealt with state qualifications for civil marriage, universal criminal jurisdiction, health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives, and HIV/AIDS and human rights.

The civil marriage policy opposes any federal enactment that would restrict the ability of a state to prescribe the qualifications for civil marriage between two persons within its jurisdiction or to determine when effect should be given to a civil marriage validly contracted between two persons under the laws of another jurisdiction. The policy does not take a position on whether states should allow same-sex couples to enter into civil marriage. Co-sponsors of the resolution included the Sections of Family Law and Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, the Young Lawyers Division, the Steering Committee on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children, and the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association. Lead drafters of the resolution included Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee Co-chair Courtney Joslin and Vice Chair Mary Bonauto, and Immediate Past Section Chair Mark D. Agrast.

The House of Delegates also approved a resolution proposing that the ABA recognize the principle of universal criminal jurisdiction as an important tool in the worldwide effort to strengthen the rule of law. Lead drafters included International Human Rights Committee Co-chair Douglass W. Cassel, Jr., Council Member Steven T. Walther, and Immediate Past Section Chair Mark D. Agrast, as well as representatives of other entities. Also approved was a resolution supporting the efforts of the National Tribal Steering Committee to address the inadequacy of health care for many American Indians and Alaska Natives. Lead drafters of the Resolution included Native American Concerns Committee Co-chair Elizabeth Bell and Vice Chair Bobo Dean. A resolution developed by the ABA AIDS Coordinating Committee, urging the U.S. to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic in a manner consistent with international human rights law, also passed.

Other resolutions co-sponsored by the Section and approved by the House relate to videotaping of custodial interrogations, the creation of a United Nations Democracy Caucus within the United Nations, school violence, and individuals with mental illness in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. For more information on these policies and Section activity at the Midyear Meeting visit www.abanet.org/irr/midyear2004/summary.html.

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Also at the Midyear Meeting, former Section Chair Marna S. Tucker was presented with the 2004 Robert F. Drinan Distinguished Service Award during a reception in her honor attended by more than 150 people, including ABA President Dennis W. Archer, President-elect Robert J. Grey, Jr., and many other friends, family, and bar leaders.

During the Section Council meeting, Drucilla S. Ramey of New York, NY was elected to fill the vacant Council position created by the resignation of Jay Kanassatega last October. Dru is the former Executive Director of The Bar Association of San Francisco.

The Section also sponsored programs on the USA PATRIOT Act and lawyer involvement in the death penalty moratorium movement. The PATRIOT Act program was developed and moderated by Raj Purohit, Vice Chair of the Section's Committee on International Human Rights and featured Committee Co-chair Douglass W. Cassel, Jr. as a panelist. The moratorium program, co-sponsored with the ABA Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project, included opening remarks by ABA President Dennis W. Archer.

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