By George T. Nicola, Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN), Special to PQ Monthly

On September 4, OGALLA: The LGBT Bar Association of Oregon; GLAPN (Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest); and Oregon State Bar Diversity & Inclusion Department jointly sponsored a class entitled “LGBT Rights in Oregon: A Historical Perspective.” The session qualified for continuing legal education (CLE) credits required of Oregon State Bar members. It was also videotaped and will be placed online so that attorneys who could not attend in person can still access the CLE.
The class was arranged by OGALLA Co-Chair Kevin Clonts, who opened the session with brief introductions of the participants. I then gave a PowerPoint presentation on the legal history of LGBT people in Oregon. I was honored to be followed by a panel discussion by five of Oregon’s finest legal minds, all of them openly LGBT:
Judge Lynn Nakamoto was appointed to the Oregon Court of Appeals in 2011, and won the statewide election to retain that position in 2012. She is our state’s first, and still only, Asian American appellate judge.
Retired Judge Janice Wilson was Oregon’s first openly LGBT judge. In May of 1992, she became the first openly LGBT person elected to public office in Oregon.
University of Oregon Law Professor Dominick (Dom) Vetri was the recipient of the 2012 University of Oregon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award. He was also the drafter of Eugene’s 1977 Human Rights Law, the first Oregon citywide non-discrimination law that applied to both public and private institutions
Charles (Charlie) Hinkle was lead counsel in Burton v. Cascade School District Union High School No. 5, the first lawsuit filed by a teacher successfully claiming LGBT discrimination. Hinkle was also the recipient of the ACLU of Oregon’s inaugural Charles F. Hinkle Award.
Cindy Cumfer is a pioneering attorney and activist. She was the recipient of the 1996 Oregon State Bar Membership Service Award.

OGALLA is one of the oldest LGBT organizations in Oregon. Founded in January of 1991, it was created as a statewide organization to support the needs of sexual minorities and gender non-conforming people in the legal profession. For more on OGALLA, please see their web site at http://www.ogalla.org/. For more on GLAPN, please see http://glapn.org/.

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