• May 21, 2013
The Interstate 35W Bridge, Minneapolis, Bathed in Rainbow Light to Celebrate Marriage Equality in Minnesota

The Interstate 35W Bridge, Minneapolis, Bathed in Rainbow Light to Celebrate Marriage Equality in Minnesota (Photo By Ed Kohler)

With the passage of Minnesota’s historic marriage equality law, with the crisp Spring air sparkling with motes of not just a new season but a new era, Minnesota progressives, liberals, libertarians, and so many thousands of others who favor the freedom of Americans to love another person regardless of gender without shame or stigma, might be tempted to jump to the view that we are now (finally) in an era without bigotry, homophobia, or bias based on sexual orientation.

When the celebration and joy of progress subsides, though, we all realize that unique issues continue to face Minnesota LGBT litigators.  Learn about them from a distinguished panel at a CLE (1.5 elimination of bias credits) May 29, 2013, 3-5:30 p.m., at Blackwell Burke P.A., 431 S. 7th Street, Suite 2500, Minneapolis, MN 55415.

But what’s so unique about the challenges faced by LGBT litigators, in particular?  What about those faced by women? By the disabled? By other minority groups?

I put the question to Blackwell Burke attorney, Emily Babcock, who is organizing this first ever CLE of its kind in Minnesota.

LGBT lawyers face challenges that in some ways can be compared to the challenges faced by other minorities (including women) but in many ways LGBT lawyers’ challenges are unique. For example, unlike LGBT people, racial minorities and women are legally protected from overt discrimination in most contexts, and have been decades. In contrast, the legal protections for LGBT people, which vary greatly by state, are only beginning to emerge.

Second, unlike other minorities (including women) gay people have to “come out” – and not just once, they must do so over and over again every time they meet new people. In the legal profession, this raises unique issues: Do I come out to my clients? To the judge? To the jury? What if the jurors are homophobic – am I underserving my client if I come out?

I’m sure each of the litigators on the panel will have their own opinion about unique issues they have faced, the above are only a small sample of possibilities.

The panel, incidentally, will include Dave Potter, a previously profiled lawyer on Minnesota Litigator.

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