As 2012 comes to a close and I write my final post of the year. I can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for all of the accomplishments realized by the LGBT community. It has truly been a banner year.
Same-sex couples in Maine, Maryland and Washington won the right to marry at the ballot box this November while voters defeated a ban against gay marriage in Minnesota. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed. President Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage.
Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate, will be sworn in this January and an unprecedented number of LGB legislators won or kept seats in Congress.
More celebrities have joined the cause in support of gay rights, including Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman.
Court battles were won and more than one court held DOMA to be unconstitutional. Best of all, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the DOMA cases this term.
Professionally, I had a wonderful year as well. As a result of this blog, I was invited to be a panelist at the Secrets of the Legal Bloggers event hosted by the Young Lawyers Section of the Connecticut Bar Association. There, I met two aspiring bloggers with an interest in LGBT issues. I was interviewed by the Connecticut Post in May about President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage. This blog turned 3 in July (my Attorney O’s Midnight Musings blog turned 3 in June). In September, I had the opportunity to be a guest lecturer at a family law paralegal class at Manchester Community College on the topic of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. For fun (and to hopefully engage the students), I wrote and performed a tongue-in-cheek rap song about DOMA that I hope to post on this blog sometime in 2013.
I was elected vice-president of the Collaborative Divorce Professionals, in September, which was quite exciting as I am such a firm believer in the collaborative divorce process. I was contacted by the BBC in London to give an interview on the Boy Scouts’ discriminatory policy banning gays from the organization. Although that interview never materialized due to a major world crisis that preempted the story, it was gratifying that my opinion had been sought by a reporter. In October, I was privileged to attend the Diversity Award dinner for my mentor and colleague, Judge Maureen M. Murphy, a tireless advocate for LGBT rights who worked for marriage equality in Connecticut and was part of the groundbreaking Kerrigen case that ultimately won same-sex couples the right to marry in this state. Finally, I ended 2012 with an interview for a piece on DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) that is supposed to run in the Hartford Courant.
All in all, it was an exciting year for me and for LGBT citizens in general.
To the wonderful clients who entrusted me with their legal matters this year, thank you for the opportunity to work with you and to learn from you. Whether working with clients wishing to draft Wills and documents of protection, wanting to protect their families by going through the step-parent adoption process, seeking divorce or working with the Probate process for a loved one’s estate, it was a gratifying year to have met so many wonderful people. I thank you for the many conversations, for your displays of courage and humor and tenacity in the face of adversity. You are all to be admired.
As 2013 approaches, I am optimistic that we will continue to see advances in LGBT rights and protections. There will be opposition, to be sure — but I choose to believe that the LGBT community will ultimately prevail.
Have a fabulous night as you celebrate the end of 2012 and the start of 2013. Be safe in whatever you choose to do.
I wish you joy, love and prosperity in the coming year. I also wish each of you great peace.
Happy New Year and thanks for reading.
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copyright 2012 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.