I’m attending this year’s Lavender Law conference, the annual gathering of the LGBT bar association — along with a large contingent of law students, as well as lawyers and judges. I participated in two panels, one on the complicated gender issues that arise in same-sex families, and the other on the impact of the extension of legal marital rules on lesbian and gay couples. The gender panel addressed the rarely-studied dynamics that often arise from the gender of the partners, either male, female or transgender, in the formation or dissolution of the couple’s relationship. The marriage panel explored how the new rules are playing out in the marriage-recognition states of New Jersey, Massachusetts and California, especially as they shape the dissolution processes of these relationships.
The conference panels included discussions of new parenting issues, the challenges facing LGBT immigrants and refugees, the role of social science findings in anti-discrimination litigation, and the latest news on the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell lawsuits. The larger plenary sessions addressed the current “mixed bag” status of the Obama Administration’s policies on LGBT issues, and the broader questions about the marriage movement.
But apart from the great legal insights and thought-provoking discussions, the most impressive aspect of the gathering is the wonderful diversity of young students and attorneys — in so many shapes and stripes and professional goals! Seeing this dynamic group of LGBT law students and emerging law professionals from all over the United States is a terrific inspiration, giving me confidence that whatever the particular legal issues that may emerge over the coming decades, there will be an enthusiastic cadre of lawyers ready to take up the causes and help our community.