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Gender and Sexuality Law Clinic Receives Award for Pro Bono Work

Award Recognizes Clinic's Success in Writing Domestic Partner Benefits Legislation


Public Affairs Office 212-854-2650 publicaffairs@law.columbia.edu
 
New York, June 30, 2011—The Gender and Sexuality Law Clinic of Columbia Law School is a 2011 Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Award winner in recognition of the Clinic’s success in writing domestic Partner Benefits legislation for the Cities of Allentown and Easton, PA. The Allentown ordinance, drafted by clinic students, was signed into law Jan. 26 of this year. 

In drafting the law, clinic students collaborated with the Pennsylvania Diversity Network (PDN), sponsor of the award and the largest LGBT organization in Pennsylvania. PDN had been advocating for domestic partnership benefits in Allentown for more than 15 years. The new law applies to Allentown’s approximately 1,000-employee workforce, as well as its retirees.  
 
Accepting the award on behalf of the Gender and Sexuality Clinic will be
Larra Morris ’11, who drafted the ordinance along with Jennifer Simcovitch ’11, and Swathi Sukumar ’10. Suzanne B. Goldberg, Clinical Professor of Law and director of the clinic, said of the honor:  “The Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic was delighted to be a part of advancing equality for gay and lesbian employees in two important Pennsylvania cities.  Working with the Pennsylvania Diversity Network has been a terrific opportunity for collaboration between Columbia’s clinic and a vital statewide advocacy organization.”   

Mark Segal, Publisher, Philadelphia Gay News, will deliver the keynote address before more than 125 community leaders and activists from throughout Northeast Pennsylvania.

Additional award recipients are:
Hon. Michael D’Amore, President of the Allentown City Council, was the prime sponsor of the Domestic Partner Benefits ordinance for the City of Allentown

Gay and Lesbian Organization in the Workplace at PPL successfully worked to put in place for domestic partner benefits for management and union employees at PPL

Muhlenberg College Office of Residential Services oversaw the implementation of Gender Neutral Housing policies at the College

Northampton High School Gay Straight Alliance showed remarkable resilience in responding to their School Board’s illegal decision last November to disallow the group from meeting on campus

Express Business Center has been an annual corporate sponsor of Pennsylvania Diversity Network for many years

Philadelphia Gay News is recognized for more than 35 years of LGBT news coverage in Philadelphia and beyond.
The 4th Annual LGBT Community Awards Celebration is sponsored by Wells Fargo Holiday Inn Center City, and the Allentown Brewworks.

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