Participants came from across the country to Washington last month for the first LGBT Advocacy Day sponsored by the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) and coordinated by the association’s Governmental Affairs Office.
SOGI leads the ABA’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and full and equal participation by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in the association, the legal profession and society. Those attending the event visited their senators and representatives to discuss issues of importance to the LGBT community and urge support for the following legislation:
• S. 447/H.R. 864 (Juror ACCESS/Non-Discrimination Act), which would amend 28 U.S. Code § 1862 to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the prohibition against exclusion of potential federal jurors on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or economic status; and
• S. 302/H.R. 590, the International Human Rights Defense Act, which would integrate the protection of LGBT persons into U.S. foreign policy and direct a coordinated response to address international violence and discrimination against LGBT persons through a Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Peoples.
In addition to visits on Capitol Hill, events during the advocacy day included a White House briefing by government officials and a briefing on the issues from ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman and Grassroots Operations Director Jared Hess.