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Topics In the News
Attorney General Holder Addresses GLBTQ Attorneys
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 08/24/12
Last updated on: 08/24/12
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Eric Holder.

On April 23, 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the annual Lavender Law Conference and urged the glbtq lawyers attending the conference to "use the power of the law, as well as your own gifts and knowledge, to help build a more fair, more equal, and more just society. And you have not only the power, but--I believe--the solemn responsibility, to do precisely that: to safeguard the rights and freedoms of everyone in this country, and to carry on the critical but unfinished work that lies ahead."

As Chris Johnson reports in the Washington Blade, the Attorney General addressed an audience of more than 1,000 as he gave the three-day conference's keynote speech. Holder enumerated the accomplishments of the Obama administration on glbtq issues, including the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the refusal to defend DOMA in court, and initiatives to investigate school bullying.

In addition, Holder said the Justice Department continues to "fight for" passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and an updated Violence Against Women Act with glbtq protections.

He cited a Connecticut district court's recent ruling against Section 3 of DOMA as part of the fallout of the Justice Department's decision to no longer defend the anti-gay law. "Since then," he said, "we've seen an encouraging--and increasing--number of courts hold this provision to be unconstitutional, including a federal district court in Connecticut that found that Section 3 fails to survive heightened constitutional scrutiny just last month."

Holder told the attorneys that the quest for equal rights will not be easy, but added, "as I look around this room, I can't help but feel optimistic about where your efforts will lead us--and how far our collective commitment will take us--in the months and years ahead."

The audience gave the Attorney General a standing ovation both upon his entrance to the stage and his exit.

The address was broadcast by C-Span and may be viewed below.

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