This week LeGaL held our eighth annual LGBT Law Year in Review. The 2017 year in review program covered the key federal and state court decisions and legislative developments of the past year, with some glimpses of what we might expect in 2018.
The event feature an all-star lineup, including:
Professor Arthur Leonard, Robert F. Wagner Professor of Labor and Employment Law at New York Law School, editor of LGBT Law Notes, contributing writer for Gay City News, and co-author of the casebook Sexuality Law
Noah Lewis, Esq., Founder and Executive Director of Transcend Legal
Louise Melling, Esq., Deputy Legal Director and Director of Center for Liberty at the ACLU
Brett Figlewski, Esq. (Moderator), Legal Director of LeGaL
2017 was a challenging year for our community, which was under near
constant attack from the federal government.
I worked at Lambda Legal for six years — from Windsor to Obergefell and beyond.
I will never forget the fear in my colleagues faces after the election of Trump, or the frantic phone calls that flooded into our legal help desk. I remember personally feeling helpless.
The Thursday following the election when we came into work, Lambda Legal’s Deputy Legal Director Hayley Gorenberg had a sign on her door that read:
“The Battle isn’t over until we stop fighting, and here we don’t”
And we didn’t. 2017 was the year of the lawyer. We in the legal community were on the front-lines. We challenged the transgender military ban and blocked it. On January 1, for the first time ever transgender Americans could openly enlist in the US military. We continued to fight the Muslim ban and the phaseout of DACA. There are 36,000 LGBTQ DACA recipients. Immigration is an LGBTQ issue.
Two amazing New York lawyers, Susan Sommer and Roberta Kaplan even fought Mississippi’s odious license to discriminate law, H.B. 1523. And that fight isn’t over.
I can’t wait to see what the LGBT legal community can accomplish on
behalf of our community together in 2018. But here is some of what happened in LGBT law in 2017.