Lambda to Brief Media on Key Issues in Gay Civil Rights for 2001

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New legal director highlights fears about Bush Administration, needs of gay youth and families
January 30, 2001

(LOS ANGELES) — Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund will describe key national and regional civil rights concerns for the year at a media briefing in Los Angeles, said Lambda Executive Director Kevin M. Cathcart.

At a breakfast briefing on Friday, February 2 at 9:30 a.m., top legal strategists from Lambda’s headquarters in New York and Western Regional Office in Los Angeles will identify leading discrimination problems facing the gay community.

Cathcart, who will moderate the gathering, said, “Advances toward equality for lesbians, gay men, and people with HIV and AIDS are at the cutting edge of civil rights law today. In California and around the country, Lambda will drive many of those advances, both within and outside the courtroom.”

At the briefing, Cathcart will summarize Lambda’s major priorities and introduce the new legal director, Ruth E. Harlow, who will detail some of Lambda’s key legal cases and other plans for the year.

Prior to the briefing, Harlow noted, “At the same time that we’re making headway in teaching all youth about equality and mutual respect, and strengthening legal protections for families, we hear John Ashcroft calling us ‘abnormal’ and labeling civil rights ‘special rights.’ Our core challenge in 2001 will be to keep the momentum in the direction of more justice, not back to hate mongering.”

Lambda Senior Counsel Jon W. Davidson, who is based in Los Angeles, will join Cathcart and Harlow to highlight regional concerns, including the Los Angeles Police Department and the security for gay families in California. Lambda’s two other Los Angeles-based lawyers, Managing Attorney Jennifer C. Pizer and Staff Attorney Myron Dean Quon, also will be available to answer questions.

Founded in 1973, Lambda is the oldest and largest legal organization dedicated to ending discrimination against lesbians, gay men and people with AIDS.

The Lambda briefing will report on upcoming developments including:

Empowering the next generation and teaching equality, through:

  • foster care reforms vital for gay and transgender youth, who disproportionately rely on this system;
  • ending discrimination by the Boy Scouts of America;
  • teaching schools to acknowledge gay people and gay history.
Combating police misconduct and other abuses of power by the government, as highlighted by:

  • the Rampart Commission report and other reform efforts targeting the LAPD;
  • monitoring Bush Cabinet and federal policy to ensure that anti-gay bias is not a foundation for government action;
  • Brandon v. Richardson County and Sterling v. Borough of Minersville, cases involving police misconduct that resulted in two deaths.

Strengthening family legal structures with advances toward:

  • marriage, civil unions, equal parenting rights and responsibilities, and other family protections.

WHAT: Media briefing on Lambda’s national and regional 2001 civil rights plans WHO: Executive Director Kevin Cathcart, Legal Director Ruth Harlow, and Senior Counsel Jon Davidson WHERE: Latham & Watkins, 633 West Fifth St., Conference Room 6E, Los Angeles WHEN: Friday, February 2 at 9:30 a.m. PDT

Please RSVP to Jennifer Grissom at 212-809-8585, ext. 231




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