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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 19, 2007

NCLR Announces Key Role in ABA Commission

The American Bar Association Commission Seeks to Eliminate Bias and Discrimination in the Legal Profession and the Justice System

(San Francisco,CA, November 19, 2007) — Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) announces its participation in the American Bar Association’s (ABA) new progressive commission on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. The goal of the ABA commission is to increase awareness of the discrimination and biases faced by individuals within the legal profession and the justice system because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

NCLR will play an instrumental role in the commission with NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter and NCLR cooperating attorney Abby Rubenfeld participating as advisors. Minter has been at the forefront of LGBT case law, and is lead counsel in the marriage case currently pending before the California Supreme Court. His expertise in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) legal issues will offer valuable insight to the commission. Rubenfeld, a Nashville-based attorney specializing in family law, sexual orientation, and AIDS-related issues, is a member of NCLR’s National Family Law Council Advisory Council. Minter and Rubenfeld both represent NCLR’s commitment to increasing diversity and acceptance for LGBT people in the legal profession, the justice system, and society.

“The ABA’s commitment to equality of opportunity is reflected in many policies opposing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in many contexts, including employment, housing, public accommodations, legal education, and child custody, adoption and foster care decisions,” said ABA President William H. Neukom of Seattle. “Although much progress has been made to reduce bias in this area, numerous studies demonstrate that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people continue to face pervasive discrimination within the legal profession, as they do in many other walks of life.”

The formation of the commission comes on the heels of the association’s movement to increase diversity within the legal profession and the justice system. Last February, the ABA amended its Goal IX, which originally called for full and equal participation for minorities, women, and persons with disabilities, to include sexual orientation and gender identity. This new commission will be instrumental in implementing these changes and fostering greater diversity and acceptance.

“It is an honor for NCLR to have Shannon as our Legal Director and to have his expertise and contributions recognized by the ABA,” said Kate Kendell, Executive Director of NCLR. “Shannon's participation will enhance the depth and importance of this critical committee's work.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

The American Bar Association
With more than 413,000 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.


media contacts:

Erik Olvera
Director of Communications
National Center for Lesbian Rights
office: 415.392.6257 x324

Bethany Woolman
Communications Associate
National Center for Lesbian Rights
office: 415.392.6257 x305

Kate Kendell Esq.
Executive Director


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