HRC Foundation Releases Publication On Importance Of The Judiciary

Our nation's courts play a pivotal role in the fight for
equality, according to "Justice for All," a report released on September 28th by the
Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Part of an educational campaign funded
by the Open Society Institute Network of the Soros Foundation's Network,
the publication clearly outlines the unique relationships between gay,
lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied-voters, legislators and

"The makeup of the court is one of the most important outcomes of
elections," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "GLBT Americans and our
allies too frequently overlook the effect judges have on our lives. And
we forget that when we're in that voting booth, we're picking not only a
president, but the person who puts judges on the bench for a lifetime.
This report is designed to make that connection."

"We are proud to support this effort by the Human Rights Campaign
Foundation to shed light on the crucial role played by a fair and
impartial judges in our democratic system," said John Kowal of the Open
Society Institute of the Soros Foundation's Network, which funded the
report as part of its goal to inform diverse groups about the importance
of a fair and balanced judiciary. "This report is an essential
educational tool for the GLBT community."

The publication highlights how courts are critical to the GLBT
community, the role of the courts and so-called "judicial activism," the
selection of judges and how the readers can help protect the courts and
their rights.

For example, did you know?

  • Until the Supreme Court invalidated so-called sodomy laws in 2003,
    those laws were used to justify taking children away from GLBT parents
    and excluding GLBT people from professions such as teaching;

  • Justice Anthony Kennedy, the justice who wrote the majority opinion in
    Lawrence v. Texas, was nominated by President Reagan in 1987. But
    Reagan's first pick was Robert Bork, an outspoken opponent of GLBT
    equality. Bork was rejected by senators who demanded a more fair-minded

  • Judge William Pryor, who was recently appointed to the 11th Circuit
    Court in a move that evaded Senate confirmation, sits on the bench that
    recently upheld Florida's anti-gay adoption ban by a one-vote margin.

"Our vote for president and our senators are votes for the judges who
will safeguard or ignore our community's fundamental rights. Yet too
many GLBT Americans don't take the opportunity to make their own
decision to vote, which amounts to leaving this crucial choice in the
hands of our opponents," said HRC Senior Counsel Lara Schwartz, author
of the report.

The publication will be publicly released this evening at a panel in
Washington, D.C., at HRC headquarters. Jacques will introduce panel
members Paul Smith, the attorney who argued the ground-breaking case
Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down discriminatory sodomy laws
nationwide, Deb Price and Joyce Murdoch, authors of Courting Justice:
Gay Men and Lesbians v. the Supreme Court, and HRC's Schwartz, who will
moderate the panel. Panelists will delve into the publication's contents
and its relevance to current events.

A web movie breaking down the complex issue with references to pop
culture was also released in conjunction with the report. To view the
publication and web movie, visit:

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