Greetings to our members and friends.
Thirty years ago, a handful of lawyers saw a need to unite the LGBTQ legal community and they responded by forming the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago.
Today, LAGBAC is one of the largest and most well-respected LGBTQ bar organizations in the country. Our membership is comprised of active and engaged LGBTQ lawyers, judges, elected officials and other legal professionals who exchange information and ideas, model innovative leadership and are resolute in their belief in equality and fairness for all.
In the past year, LAGBAC has continued to unite and strengthen the LGBTQ legal community by:
- Providing members vast social and networking opportunities;
- Presenting topical Continuing Legal Education programs;
- Offering mentoring to law students and young lawyers;
- Granting scholarships to law students;
- Working with public interest groups and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to connect law students with internships in their areas of interest;
- Evaluating candidates for judicial office.
Law Day this year invites us to reflect on the concept of separation of powers, the system of checks and balances designed to vest legislative, executive and judicial powers of government in separate bodies as a defense against the dangers of autocracy.
James Madison warned, in Federalist No. 47, too much power in one branch of government “may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
We have recently seen the exercise of separation of powers working to safeguard the security and well-being of the LGBTQ community.
In the past year, courts have blocked efforts to ban transgender Americans from the military, barred enforcement of an anti-Muslim travel ban based, in part, on the effect of the ban on LGBTQ aliens and held that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Under the founders’ design, there is inherent tension between the branches. But as these actions demonstrate, goodness of the highest order — preservation of human dignity — may flow from the exercise of our system of checks and balances.