OUTlaw is hosting this event on March 31, 2008 at 7 p.m. in the West Wing, featuring Bennett H. Klein, Esq., lead attorney in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health (currently awaiting decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court)
• The New York Times ran an updated story about the case a few weeks ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/17/nyregion/17samesex.html?_r=3&ref=nyregion&oref=login&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
• Ben has been the AIDS Law Project Director for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (“GLAD”), a major LGBT legal advocacy organization in Boston, since 1994. He is a 1982 graduate of Oberlin College and a 1987 graduate of Boston University School of Law. Prior to joining GLAD, he was a litigation associate at the Boston law firms of Kotin, Crabtree & Strong and Gaston & Snow.
• He was previously the lead attorney in Bragdon v. Abbott, 524 U.S. 624 (1998), the first U.S. Supreme Court case involving HIV/AIDS. He won a landmark 5-4 decision in which the Court held that physicians cannot refuse or alter care of an HIV-positive patient without violating the equal treatment stipulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
• GLAD, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is the organization most famous for Baker v. State and Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the lawsuits that led to the nation’s first civil unions in Vermont and legal same-sex marriages in Massachusetts.
• Kerrigan is slightly different than some of the marriage cases in other states, because the Connecticut state legislature enacted a civil union scheme after this lawsuit was originally filed in 2004. Thus, the main question in this case became (and the focus of the lecture will be) whether offering civil unions to same-sex couples (rather than full marriage rights) is a constitutional option based on the equal protection and due process provisions in the Connecticut constitution.
There will be a reception following the presentation in the West Foyer and a chance to sign up for Empire State Pride Agenda’s LGBT Equality & Justice Day on April 29, 2008.