WHEREAS, gay men and lesbians historically have suffered and continue to suffer employment discrimination, limitation in employment opportunities, and disparate treatment in employment and other settings, both in the legal profession and in other fields, solely because of their sexual orientation or perceptions regarding their sexual orientation;
WHEREAS, there has been in recent years and continues to be, an evolution in the statutory and case law arising from consideration and reconsideration of the rights, opportunities and status of gay men and lesbians under the law and that this evolution has had an impact on areas of the law including domestic relations, estate planning, taxation, employment, health care, administrative, constitutional, housing and civil rights law, giving rise to the need for education of the bar and the public about changes in these areas of the law;
WHEREAS, the American Bar Association adopted the following resolution in August 1996:
RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges state, territorial and local bar associations to study bias in their community against gays and lesbians within the legal profession and the justice system and make appropriate recommendations to eliminate such bias.
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association has historically been supportive of the concerns of gay and lesbian attorneys, adopting in 1991 a model non-discrimination policy specifically referencing sexual orientation and endorsing legislation which would amend the Pennsylvania Ethnic Intimidation Act to include sexual orientation as a protected classification, and, in 1993, endorsing domestic partnership legislation for committed, same-sex couples;
WHEREAS, the Association's bylaws permit establishment of special committees under section 702(a),which provides committees other than standing committees may be created as the Board or the Chancellor may direct. The Chancellor, Chancellor-elect and Vice Chancellor shall be ex-officio voting members of each such special committee or ad hoc committee;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Governors, at the request of the Chancellor and other members of the Association, hereby creates as a special committee the Committee on the Legal Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men, which shall have the following as its mission:
The Committee on the Legal Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men shall consider, investigate and make recommendations to the Board on matters relating to the recognition and protection of the legal rights of lesbians and gay men. It will monitor relevant conditions and trends in the law and the treatment of lesbians and gay men in the legal profession. It further will conduct educational programs and seminars, both on its own and in conjunction with the other committees and sections of the Bar and with other organizations concerned with such rights.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: March 27, 1997