Tag Archive | "National Gay and Lesbian Task Force"

Leading Legal Figure Remembered Paula L. Ettelbrick, Prominent Gay Rights Leader Dies at Age 56

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By Alex Vaughn

Photo: Paula Ettelbrick with Joe Steffan in 1988 : Photo courtesy, Michael Bedwell

Paula L. Ettelbrick, who was a leading legal figure in the lesbian and gay civil rights movement and who focused on defining “family” in the broadest possible way, passed away on Friday in New York. She was 56 and lived in Manhattan and Yonkers. The primary cause of her death was peritoneal cancer, said Suzanne B. Goldberg, her ex-partner, with whom she had been raising two children.

Ettelbrick’s career included leadership positions in some of the most influential LGBT rights groups of the past 25 years: the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Ettelbrick had a prominent voice in pushing the fact that there were many types of families created by homosexuals who all deserved acceptance and protection. However her views had put her at odds on more than one occasion with other lesbian and gay leaders over same-sex marriage and how much political capital should be spent in its pursuit.

“When analyzed from the standpoint of civil rights, certainly lesbians and gay men should have the right to marry,” she wrote in the fall 1989 issue of Out/Look Magazine as part of a debate with Thomas B. Stoddard, a colleague at Lambda who strongly favored same-sex marriage.

“But obtaining a right does not always result in justice.”

Ettelbrick continued, “Justice for gay men and lesbians will be achieved only when we are accepted and supported in this society despite our differences from the dominant culture and the choices we make regarding our relationships.”
“I do not want to be known as ‘Mrs. Attached-to-Somebody-Else,’” she wrote. “Nor do I want to give the state the power to regulate my primary relationship.”

Paula Louise Ettelbrick was born on Oct. 2, 1955, on an Army base in Stuttgart, Germany, to Robert and Judi Ettelbrick.

She graduated from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb in 1978 and received her law degree in 1984 from Wayne State University in Detroit, where she clerked in the law office of the United Auto Workers.

Ms. Ettelbrick spent two years at a large Detroit law firm, before she went to New York to join the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. She remained its legal director from 1988 to 1993.

During her time at Lambda in 1991, New York’s Court of Appeals decided 6 to 1 that a lesbian, known in the case as Alison D., had no legal right to visit the child she had been raising with her former partner, Virginia M., the biological parent. This was a massive loss for Ettlebrick. However, during her long and poignant career, she also experienced important victories. During her five years as legislative counsel to the Empire State Pride Agenda in New York, from 1994 to 1999, she was among those pushing Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to grant domestic partners rights and benefits equal to those of spouses.

The Domestic Partnership Bill was introduced in 1998, at the time she told The New York Times: “If you’re married, you can go to City Hall and file a tax appeal as a couple. Now, we can, too. It’s very meaningful for those of us who live in families not joined by marriage.”

Most recently, she was the executive director of the Stonewall Community Foundation in New York. She also taught law at New York University Law School and at Barnard College.

Her partner was Marianne Haggerty, of Manhattan and Yonkers. Her children – Adam Ettelbrick, 14, and Julia Ettelbrick, 12 – now live with Ms. Goldberg and her partner, Mary Lou Kelley. The four women, and the children, had spent time together in the New York and vacationed together in Provincetown, Mass.

She is survived by her children and her brother, Robert Ettelbrick Jr., of Morgan Hill, Calif., and her sister, Linda Anderes, of Tucson.

When New York State Legislature voted in June to legalize same-sex marriage, Ettelbrick was pleased, although Ms. Goldberg said Ms. Ettelbrick remained concerned that “those celebrations not preclude recognition of families that fall outside marriage’s scope.”

After her passing, The National Gay and Lesbian Task force said she was, “An organizer par excellence”

and that she had “brought many gifts and skills to our movement.” They also posted a tribute to the activist including statements from former co workers.

Rea Care, Executive Director, of the Task force said, “I will truly miss Paula – her sass, her smarts and her smile. She was supportive of me and of other women in leadership positions. In fact, upon becoming the executive director of the Task Force, I received a note card from her along with a contribution to the Task Force in honor of women’s leadership, telling me the story of how when she had become an executive director, another woman executive director had done the same for her. I have continued this tradition by sending a note to some new women executive directors, telling Paula’s story and writing a check to their organization. I know the tradition and her story will continue on.” Sue Hyde, the director of the Task Force’s National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change said, “Paula Ettelbrick brought many gifts and skills to our movement as a litigator and legal scholar, as an organizational leader, and as a U.S.-based activist with a deep grasp of conditions on the ground for LGBT people in countries outside our own. But Paula’s story is incomplete without calling forward her inspiring and visionary work as a community organizer par excellence. She led the first campaign to increase our visibility in the U.S. census, when to do so was regarded as quixotic. She was in the forefront of the movement to grow and strengthen state-level LGBT organizing when statewide organizations were embryonic. Paula brought to life more than 350 actions in states across the country, because she believed that our equality must be secured in our state capitols. With fierce determination, grace and bold curiosity, she allowed us to feel and flex our grassroots strength and power. She had faith in us and we in her.”

Paula L. Ettelbrick 1955 - 2011

Task Force to Honor Rugby Star

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MIAMI, FL – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announced that straight rugby star Ben Cohen will receive its Humanitarian Award on October 15th, at the 15th annual Miami Recognition Dinner at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Cohen is the first straight sports star to dedicate his philanthropic efforts to the benefit of LGBT people. One of the world’s greatest athletes, Ben recently founded and serves as chairman  of The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, the world’s first foundation dedicated to raising awareness about the long-term, damaging effects of bullying and raising funds to support those who are doing work to stop it.

The Miami Recognition Dinner is the premier annual celebration of South Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force produces the event and donates the majority of the net proceeds to other nonprofit organizations serving the Miami-Dade LGBT community.

4th Annual Summerfest

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MIAMI BEACH, FL – From Friday, July 22, to Sunday, July 24, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Pink Dollar Enterprises will partner to create a fantastic weekend of stiff cocktails, over-the-top entertainment and sexy fashions during the 4th Annual SummerFest Weekend. Last year, over 1,000 people participated in the weekend’s festivities, sipping on complimentary cocktails, moving to the beats of international deejays and enjoying incredible shows by world-renowned entertainers, all while supporting the largest LGBT rights organization in the country, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

The Task Force will work with some of Miami Beach’s greatest venues to create the hottest event of the summer.

The heart and soul of the 4th Annual SummerFest Weekend, the SummerFest Pool Party, has kicked things up a few notches by moving to the pools of the Shore Club Hotel in South Beach. Guests will get the chance to dance poolside to the beats of Deejays Miik and Charlie Rojas, while VIP guests will enjoy exclusive access to the private pool at the Shore Club Hotel Beach House. SummerFest Pool Party tickets are currently on sale: $25 in advance for general admission and $45 for VIP. Each ticket includes two free cocktails with general admission receiving two free Chambord Vodka Cocktails and VIP having the option to enjoy both Chambord Vodka and Herradura Tequila cocktails. The Shore Club will also host a Summer Sunset, a VIP cocktail reception on Friday, July 22, in its spectacular Penthouse, where guests will enjoy an open bar and tasty appetizers while experiencing one of the most amazing views in South Beach. Other SummerFest events include Summer Storm, a Saturday night dance party at Score featuring Brazilian deejay Rafael Calvente, SummerFest Brunch on Sunday at the Lords South Beach and Summer Fling Tea Dance at the Palace on Sunday afternoon. Visit www.SummerFestMiami.com for details and to purchase tickets. Local ticket outlets include The Palace, Miami Beach Gay Visitor’s Center, and Score Nightclub.

For more information, call 786-216-7513.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Presents $200,000 Donation to the Miami Foundation’s GLBT Community Projects Fund

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MIAMI, FL — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announced this year’s donation of $200,000 to The Miami Foundation’s GLBT Community Projects Fund at a June 23 reception at Bacardi USA’s national headquarters in Miami.

Nearly 200 supporters, volunteers, charity representatives and VIPs attended. The donation represents two-thirds of the net proceeds from the 2011 Winter Party Festival and the 14th Annual Recognition Dinner. The remainder of the proceeds will go to the Task Force’s efforts to achieve LGBT equality throughout the U.S.

As he presented the giant symbolic $200,000 check, Russell Roybal, Task Force deputy executive director of external relations, said, “We at the Task Force have a very special relationship with Miami. Since taking over Winter Party and the Recognition Dinner a few years ago, we have ‘partied with a purpose’ at Winter Party and honored community leaders at the Recognition Dinner, all while raising a total of more than $1 million to support local community organizations and the amazing work they do.”

CBS Blasted for “Half Sister”

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Photo: Late Night with Craig Ferguson Courtesy, CBS

NEW YORK – Just days after the NBC transgender incident, CBS’s “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” introduced a transgender character as Ferguson’s “half-sister”. Both the NBC and CBS incidents happened within days of a report by

the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality about the widespread prevalence of anti transgender discrimination.

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